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:: Twisted

Director Philip Kaufman is known for his sex/thriller films (Quills, Rising Sun, to name a couple), and he’s very good at both styles. “Twisted” cleverly crosses both paths and, despite the fact this outcome won’t surprise too many, Kaufman throws in a couple of red herrings to keep the viewer slightly off the mark at times.

Jessica Shepard (Ashley Judd) has just been promoted within the police force to a homicide detective and she goes out to celebrate with colleagues and friends. Afterwards, she goes off to a sleazy bar, picks up a guy, has sex, returns home to drink glasses of wine, and passes out. She indulges in these occasional one-night stands. However, each of the male liaisons is later found murdered.

As part of her job promotion, Jessica must visit the police psychiatrist (David Strathairn). She insists she’s perfectly normal. She sets out to investigate the deaths with her new police partner Mike Delmarco (Andy Garcia). The pressure starts to tell on Jessica and even more so as her legal guardian is the police commissioner (Samuel L. Jackson), who has certain expectations of her. With Jessica prone to alcoholic blackouts and having these occur at the time of the murders, the question is posed as to whether she unknowingly did the crimes.

The film does generate enough suspenseful moments, although viewers might realise a couple of improbable areas. Ashley Judd is always very attractive on-screen and here, with shorter hair, she carries the film as well as she can. Kaufman keeps a tight focus on her performance. She comes off as being “tough enough to kick ass”, yet is confident in several emotional sequences too. There is a very good cast alongside her, yet they have less juicy roles.

The film could be considered formulaic as far as a Hollywood thriller goes, but it’s well filmed and looks good. It helps that Kaufman lives in San Francisco and knows the area well. With a good director and cast, you’d expect a good story. It’s worth a look.