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Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Ashley Judd, Samuel L Jackson, Andy Garcia, David Strathairn, Russell Wong

Director: Philip Kaufman

A quality cast, a whodunit thriller – sounds promising, but is it?

Ashley Judd plays Jessica a cop who’s just been promoted to homicide but when she’s assigned her first case she finds she knows the victim, intimately. The case unfolds to become multiple homicides and Jessica knows all the victims, all intimately, as she has a history of picking up strangers in bars for casual sex.

But who is the killer? Well everyone is a suspect, almost every single character in the movie! Her new partner Mike Delmarco (Andy Garcia), as well as the police commissioner (Samuel L Jackson), who is also the man who looked after her as a child when her father was shot and killed because he apparently went on a killing spree in a fit of jealousy. Even Jessica herself is a suspect because she frequently blacks out after drinking.

So can you guess the killer? If you look at the film fairly objectively and the way it is presented it is quite difficult to work out who the killer is almost until the end of the movie, but if you want to be fairly cynical about this you might make an educated guess by looking at who the major stars are in this film and which one seems to be under used and who’s character doesn’t seem significant enough to warrant a big name star in the role.

Now that is what’s wrong in this movie!

The casting makes it too obvious for the cynics. Also with the exception of Ashley Judd’s role the other characters are very underdeveloped. Other than that it’s not a bad film. It’s nothing to get excited about because unfortunately it’s just too formula.

3 out of 6 stars