The hunt for a killer is a staple of film. In the latest film, To Catch a Killer, we get Shailene Woodley and Ben Mendelsohn as a pair of cops on the hunt for a spree killer. It’s a moody and twisting journey through fear and the city of Baltimore.
The film begins with a massive event. A mad man has opened fire and dozens have been struck with the sniper’s bullet. A young beat cop, Eleanor Falco (Woodley), arrives on scene. It’s chaos and people are running everywhere, but she remains cool and captures footage.
Later, on the scene, she catches the eye of the senior FBI Agent, Lammark (Mendelsohn), who has been called in to lead the manhunt. Lammark is a prickly man but a great detective, and soon he recruits Falco to be his liaison to the Baltimore Police Department. Together with his top agent, Mackenzie (Jovan Adepo), they try to hunt down the killer before the body count rises any further. Can they stop him in time?
These type of films usually come down to the characters and the mystery. Essentially you know how it’s going to go, the question is whether you’re drawn to the investigation and the investigators, with a bonus if you get an interesting suspect.
In this case, there is a lot to like early in the process. Mendelsohn fits the part well, as does Adepo. Woodley isn’t a natural fit in this type of role and there are some awkward moments, but I enjoyed her performance through to the third act.
The film has a few twists I wasn’t expecting. Ralph Ineson pops up late in the film and gives an interesting performance, playing off Woodley. The final act is uneven. There are some unique surprises and some moments that don’t quite work. Overall, it’s engaging enough and kept me interested in the search for the killer.
Prime Video has had some hits and misses in original films but this one worked to a degree. The opening sequence was creative and chaotic and the hunt for the killer played out well. It wasn’t incredible but the film held my attention all the way through its conclusion. Especially for fans of the genre, this will be worth checking out.
To Catch a Killer is in theaters staring April 21.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
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