We’re all guilty of going great lengths to get attention and who came blame us? With all this social media, it’s hard to get anyone’s attention, unless your most inopportune moment happens to be captured and put on YouTube. But unless you want to become the latest meme, how far would you go? I remember I once pretended to run away from home, thinking my mom would come looking for me. Probably should have ran further than my backyard.
Take young David here, for example. It’s Christmas time and he’s becoming Minnesota’s next serial killer, leaving a trail of decomposing skeletons across Route 61, earning himself the nickname “61 Killer.” It’s a good thing he didn’t leave the bodies along Route 69! And all of the things Minnesota is known for, besides Kirby Puckett and the invention of Scotch Tape, it has to be bizarre serial killers. Anyway, with local police baffled, they call for the help of retired FBI Profiler, Saul Aitken, who kinda looks like Robert DeNiro in some scenes. Saul meets up with Special Agent Cade, who seems like a more confident or veteran Clarice Starling. She comes off as cold and emotionless, but still pretty cute. Together, they go over the details of the case, examining the bodies, one of which is missing an arm, attempting to connect all the clues together, but this may be harder than it seems, since both profiles they have come up with so far are opposing ideas.
Later at his hotel that night, Saul gets a special delivery… the missing arm from one of the bodies! Shouldn’t have ordered the mystery meat. Saul rushes to his door to chase after the delivery man, but in a surprising turn against cliches, the killer is still at the door and kidnaps Saul at gunpoint. I almost thought we were going to have a moment similar to Seven there for a moment.
Saul wakens in a bathtub, cuffed by the ankles and hands like a prisoner, but not shackled down to anything (don’t worry, this isn’t anotherSaw style movie). He gets up and moves around the sullied, broken down home and finds young David cooking them breakfast. After a tour of his humble abode, David tells Saul that he’s been ‘fishing’ for a profiler, to tell him exactly who he is, how he thinks, why he kills. So he wants to be… profiled. And this is the great length he will go to get his attention, but the police and FBI aren’t giving in to it.
The remainder of the movie is what the internet is calling a ‘cat and mouse’ game. But whenever I hear that, I think of Tom and Jerry chasing each other dressed as Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper. Don’t ask. But for a lack of a better description, we’ll go along with calling it that. Reminding me of Hard Candy, the favorable odds seem to shift back and forth between Saul and David periodically and rather quickly. Just when you think Saul is breaking through David’s psyche, making progress, David will throw him a figurative curve ball that makes Saul not only question the methods and the fragile mind of David, but maybe some of his own life decisions.
David turns all of this into a game. Saul must ask the right questions, make an accurate profile of David if he is to prevent him from killing again. No matter what David does, the authorities won’t give him any media attention (if only we would do the same with Lady Gaga), so he decides to focus his attention on the police, targeting Special Agent Cade. Now things are becoming personal for Saul and the police are closing in on their whereabouts as the game comes to conclusion.
Profile of a Killer isn’t about showcasing visceral, over the top and gory deaths, but instead is a cerebral film, pitting two minds of opposing sides of criminology against each other. I found myself at the edge of my uncomfortable futon guessing in anticipation as to what might happen next. Most of the time, I was wrong. Films like this tend to fall into their own cliches, making them predictable and stale, but this movie doesn’t go in the other direction; it goes in a different direction altogether. It’s a familiar feeling that seems to be turned on its side. You’ll be surprised.
At times, it can feel like the movie is dragging on (run time is about two hours), however it’s for a good reason: They are taking their time and developing character and I have to say this is the film’s strongest point. You feel sympathetic and confused for David (after all, we are all lost in this world over saturated with social media), you can feel the frustration and sadness of Saul. Even the minor characters, you feel like you know them because we actually spend the right time with them and the progression the character goes through.
You can check out Profile of a Killer on Demand now and if the delivery man happens to bring you a package while watching it, make sure it’s something you’re expecting.
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