early part of her career, before she had much say in it, Ashley
Judd made some good movies. Even now, if she drops into somebody
else's film, it isn't quite the kiss of death. She has a presence,
and not just because at times she is insanely hot. But right
now, the surest way to tell a movie will be bad is if Judd
is front and center in it. Twisted, however, drags
down a boatload of bad movies. At parties, Double Jeopardy
pretends not to know it.
written by Sarah Thorp, Twisted really feels like a
bunch of classic thrillers got cut up, mixed up, randomly
reassembled and then dumbed down for the rubes. The ads carry
the tagline, "every murder has its mark." Well, in this case,
the mark is the audience. Maybe that's not how the filmmakers
Peter Deming lovingly caresses Judd's face with his opening
shot, and it's downhill from there, as it pulls back to reveal
a knife to her throat. Serial killer Edmund Cutler (Leland
Orser) has her in his clutches, but it's all a ruse on her
part. For Judd's character Jessica Shepard is a supercop,
struggling to bury her past as the daughter of a cop who went
on a killing spree before ending her mother's life and then
his own. Though it's gutsy and foolhardy, Shepard has lured
Cutler to a yard full of memorials to defecation (not really,
but that's what it looks like - and it sets the tone).
production will feature Edmund Cutler in the role of Hannibal
Lecter, only not nearly as cultured, clever or insightful.
From time to time, Shepard will visit him in his cell while
he hectors her about how alike they are.
be more right than he knows, because soon after she makes
Inspector, people Shepard sleeps with turn up dead, horribly
gutted with a cigarette burn on their hands. Coincidentally,
the lovely Inspector drinks a lot and suffers blackouts. Could
Shepard be a serial killer, and could she perhaps divert suspicion
by pegging this as a serial killer right after the first murder?
movies insult an audience's intelligence, but Twisted
has a special kind of contempt. In this day and age, there are
too many decent and popular cop shows for a major motion picture
to try to squeak by on utterly ridiculous plot turns. Instead
of investigating Shepard as soon as a second body shows up,
her immediate supervisor (Russell Wong) commends her on her
instincts - but not her basic instincts.
world of this movie, it is enough to acknowledge that Shepard
should be a suspect. Knowing that all the other detectives,
except for her doe-eyed partner Mike Delmarco (Andy Garcia),
think she's a killer should be enough to keep her on the straight
and narrow. But her mentor and foster father, Police Commissioner
John Mills (Samuel L. Jackson), vouches for her, so hey, it's
Paramount Pictures must have photographs of director Philip
Kaufman engaged in sexual congress with a goat. If not, they'll
have plenty of blackmail material from here on out, because
it's almost inconceivable that the guy who gave us The
Right Stuff, Henry & June and Quills can not pull
anything entertaining, erotic or even vaguely interesting
out of this material.
should probably hang his head, too, or at least refrain from
considering himself a bad-ass for a while. But he's only phoning
it in. Leave Garcia out of it; a mushroom among actors, he
is only as good as the movie around him, unable to give it
any flavor himself. And Wong, well, he's a good actor boxed
into an untenable position, given nothing to do.
the not untalented Judd broke through into the mainstream
with Kiss The Girls, she has somehow got the idea that
psychosexual thrillers are safe territory for her. But on
film, she tends to find one note and play it over and over.
Here, it's a flat one, and we have no sense of what really
makes Shepard tick. (The title allegedly refers to her fear
of becoming like her father, who loved her mother so much
"…it twisted him.") Since her mother had an affair or two,
the script says that automatically translates into a lot of
meaningless sex, but (and please forgive this phrasing) Judd
is an actress who almost never looks like she wants
it. It's less than meaningless; it's dramatically pointless.
that with Judd's tragic taste in material. If she claims this
script attracted her, it can only be because she recognized
ten or fifteen of her favorite films in it. You've seen it
all before; worse, you've heard it all before, as there's
not an original line in the whole thing. (Imagine how horrible
Catwoman must be if Ashley Judd backed out of
just a shame. Most of the people involved are capable of good
work. Instead, they just seem like they were there to hang
out in San Francisco.