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Twisted - Special Collector's Edition  (2004)


Rating: R

Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment

Release Date: August 31, 2004
Review posted: September 3, 2004


Reviewed by Dennis Landmann




Jessica Sheppard (Ashley Judd), a San Francisco police inspector, prowls the wharf for a serial killer whose victims all have one thing in common: her. The investigation becomes more and more twisted as her partner (Andy Garcia) behaves strangely, and the police commissioner (Samuel L. Jackson) is being asked to remove her from the investigation as she is a prime suspect. All the clues point to her and Jessica begins to suspect that she might be the killer she is looking for.




Twisted tells a familiar tale of a police investigator who wants to do the right thing, but something doesn't add up in the investigation. When suspects start dying, the inspector in question, played by Ashley Judd in a rather tired role, becomes a suspect, and then the script calls for some twists to create suspense. Instead of describing events and characters more carefully, the script's focus seems to be more on the twists, figuring out how and where to place the clues. The narrative is fine but too familiar. Guessing the identity of the killer is always a fun thing to do with thrillers and murder mysteries, and in the case of Twisted I was partially wrong with my guess, although by the time the climax arrived I just didn't care at all, not to mention the showdown doesn't make much sense.


The direction by Philip Kaufman (Quills, The Right Stuff) is positive and negative, he stages a few good scenes yet those play opposite a big party of weak ones that are plagued by bland dialogue. The cinematography looks pretty neat, and San Francisco looks great in this film. Surprisingly, the film's talent is interesting to look at, but then one has to wonder why they would show up in such an average, been-there-done-that type of thriller. For Samuel L. Jackson it was probably to work with Kaufman, because otherwise his "mentor" character in the film is not very challenging or interesting. Andy Garcia probably just needed the work, or wanted to play a familiar character. As for Ashley Judd, she's been making some odd choices in her career lately, and hopefully Twisted will be the last thriller in the "Ashley Judd" trilogy that includes Kiss The Girls and Double Jeopardy. If you notice, the posters for all three films look very similar.




Paramount presents Twisted in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer looks fine, though there are small issues with edge enhancement and artifacts. Grain appears a lot, while detail and sharpness are fine.




Paramount presents Twisted in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround. Front speakers do a good enough job emitting the audio - dialogue is basically clear and easy to understand. On the other hand, the rear speakers come alive only in a few instances. A decent audio presentation at best that's neither aggressive nor too quiet. An English 2.0 track and a 5.1 French dub are also included, as are English and Spanish subtitles.




The director's commentary by Philip Kaufman covers scene-specific stuff such as what's happening in the story or what a character is doing. There are quite a lot of pauses on this track, and not too much production trivia or other info of that kind is discussed. Overall, an okay/below average commentary.


Ten deleted/alternate scenes are offered with optional director commentary. None of these scenes add very much to the film as a whole, and with most scenes being extensions of existing scenes in the film there's really nothing lost. You'll watch these once maybe, but never again. Kaufman's commentary here is okay.


Next up are three featurettes with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Creating a Twisted Web of Intrigue discusses the film's suspense and how the filmmakers tried to create it (self-explanatory, isn't it?), The Inspectors: Clues to the Crime mentions the help of real-life inspectors and other law-enforcement specialists who helped with the film, and San Francisco: Scene of the Crime examines how the city was used as a character in the film. There's not a whole lot to these featurettes, basically a one-time thing.


Rounding out the extras are several trailers for Paramount titles.




Twisted is strictly rental material. There are not enough rewarding factors in the film to recommend it - the script just didn't deliver on its intentions, plus the storyline and characters are familiar. Ashley Judd fans may want to give this DVD a look, others should look into renting some classic thrillers instead.




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