Here we go again…another Ashley Judd murder/mystery. After High Crimes, Double Jeopardy, Eye of the Beholder, and Kiss the Girls, Judd is back in action in Twisted.
She plays Jessica Shepard, a cop who has just been promoted after subduing a rapist. Most proud of her is John Mills (Jackson), who essentially raised her through childhood after her parents were both killed. She is partnered with Mike (Garcia), a hothead who Jessica may only trust.
Shortly after being partnered with Mike, ex-boyfriends and ex-lovers of Jessica begin to be meticulously killed. The only clue left behind on all of the murders is a single cigarette burn on the back of one hand.
While there is little evidence, Jessica is immediately viewed by the rest of the department as the prime suspect. The only problem is that she is assigned to the case, so what would her motives be? And who is killing these men?
If this sounds by-the-numbers, you would be correct. Judd has mastered playing wrongfully accused, albeit strange characters. The main problem that I had with this film is that her Jessica is not a likable character. She is an alcoholic, and a sexually promiscuous one at that. She is hardly a “good guy,” and that makes it difficult to sympathize when the rest of the department is pointing fingers at her.
The film also runs into trouble when the “surprise” ending (as all Judd murder/mysteries have) isn’t really much of a surprise. Really astute viewers will be able to predict the direction the film is going early on, while some may even be able to pick it up from the film’s overly-revealing trailer.
Samuel L. Jackson gives the best performance in the film as John, Jessica’s father figure. He supports her fully throughout the murder investigation and truly believes that despite her faults, she is a good person. Garcia is also pretty good as Delmarco, the partner who believes that trust between partners is the most important thing.
Philip Kaufman turns in a good directing effort on material that he is truly above of. This is his first film since the magnificent Quills, and his past efforts prove to be superior to this one. Twisted does feature an excellent opening sequence, which displays Kaufman’s true talent for pacing and visual style.
I really do hope that Ashley Judd starts to venture into some new material. While films like this can be fun, we need someone new in the driver’s seat. But based on last week’s box office numbers, in which Twisted opened third, the smart money says that we will be seeing more of these films in the future. Just like nearly all of Judd’s past entries in the genre, this film isn’t great, it’s just average.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Length: 97 Minutes
Rating: R for violence, language, and sexuality.
Theatrical Release: February 27, 2004
Directed by: Philip Kaufman
Written by: Sarah Thorp
Cast: Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, David Strathairn, Russell Wong, Camryn Manheim