When I started watching this film, I thought I was in for an experience that has become all too common. A big name star in a lower budget European film filled with bad actors. After the first 30 minutes, I was convinced that this was the case… Jeffrey Dean Morgan was great and Famke Janssen had a minimal role, no one else really impressed me. However, the film took a few turns and I was hooked, so if you turn on this movie and find yourself feeling underwhelmed… know that it gets better, it just has a very slow start.
The film, based on a the book of the same name by Liza Marklund and James Patterson, centres around a serial killer targeting couples across Europe. The father of one of the murdered women is a police officer from New York City who begins his own investigation with the help of a journalist. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the cop, while Cush Jumbo played the journalist. While reading up on the story and film online, I learned that Britt Robertson was slated to play the journalist at one point and I think I would have preferred that casting choice. While Jumbo is a good actress, she just doesn’t have the screen presence that Morgan has.
The film has a couple of unexpected twists that get you hooked about halfway in and keep you focused on the film until the conclusion. This leads to uneven pacing as the setup takes a long time and is definitely a struggle at times. I’m not entirely certain how they could have improved that given the story, but I think a better hook early on would keep more viewers interested. With a faster pace at the beginning and a better supporting cast, this could have easily been a 4 or 4.5 star film.
I actually can’t say anything bad about the supporting cast, it’s just that I can’t say anything good. They are there and they perform their roles adequately, but there’s nothing impressive about the performances. It might be playing a role in English when it’s not their first language that causes it, but it’s something I notice about these films, next to the Hollywood star that is brought in, the remainder of the performers feel like background noise. I suspect that watching them perform in their native language would be more impressive.
I don’t know that I could justify seeing this in theatres, but I also don’t think that it’s a wait for it to stream type of film. This is probably a solid $5 Friday night rental if you’re into thrillers. There are a couple of cool things about the film — the art tie-ins, the twists, Jeffrey Dean Morgan — but there are also a few weird things. All-in-all, it is relatively enjoyable and worth checking out. It is in theatres and On Demand and Digital March 13.