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TO CATCH A KILLER (2023, USA)

For nine full years, we have been waiting for what Argentinean Damian Szifron will record after the brilliant, already iconic “Wild Tales”. Unfortunately, not only is the title of the film he made in the USA completely uninventive, but this entire thriller is uninventive, formulaic and feels like a mediocre variation on the theme of the thriller masterpiece “When the lambs fall silent”. It’s hard to believe that “Wild Tales” and “To Catch a Killer” were shot by the same man, and the film that Szifron co-wrote with Jonathan Wakeham tries to be one of those thrillers that is at the same time a critique of a bad system. He also targets politics, law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and the police, the media, and the armed fascistic racist right, but all of this remains overshadowed by a rather generic story and completely underdeveloped characters.

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The strongest asset of “To Catch a Killer” is certainly the atmosphere and style, and all of that seems dark, nihilistic, almost on the trail of Nordic-noir, and because of that, it’s a real shame that the story is so banal at the end and completely lost in preaching. Szifron starts right there in the head. It’s New Year’s Eve, everyone is celebrating, but the fun will be abruptly interrupted when a sniper kills 29 people in New York. There are no links between the victims, some are old, some are young, there are whites, blacks, Latinos and Asians, and the experienced FBI investigator Geoffrey Lammark (Ben Mendelsohn) immediately enters the scene.

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To everyone’s surprise, he will also take into his close team the ordinary policewoman Eleanor (Shailene Woodley is also the producer of the film), an obviously intelligent girl who can be guessed to have some dark past and personal demons because of which she never progressed. The obvious role model for her character was the character of Clarice Sterling from “Lambs”, actually even more the character of Angelina Jolie in the thriller “Bone Collector” from the late nineties. An experienced FBI agent and a young policewoman will thus set out in search of an apparently demented mind capable of carrying out such a gruesome attack, while at the same time they will have to navigate through a near-failed system that seems more concerned with public opinion than the fact that he is such a maniacal killer. at liberty.

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And despite all that, in the first half, “To Catch a Killer” even promised that it could be a quality, first-rate offshoot of the classic thriller genre. Unfortunately, as time passed, it became clear that it was quite superficial, and the resolution of everything was the biggest disappointment. It is difficult to understand that an author like Szfiron, who satirized society so masterfully in “Wild Tales” and created such a precise and perfect picture of the state of mind, has failed so badly here. Therefore, it is not surprising why the film, which was originally supposed to be called “Misanthrope” but the name was changed at the last minute, went rather unnoticed.

IMDB LINK