TO CATCH A KILLER is a new crime thriller that begins in an extremely brutal way on New Year’s Eve. It’s a very character-driven story, and with a runtime of almost two hours, it’s not too long at all. Read our full To Catch a Killer movie review here!
TO CATCH A KILLER is a new movie in the crime, thriller, and drama genres. You should expect a movie along the lines of The Bone Collector in terms of style and theme. A serial killer is on the loose, but really, he begins as a mass murderer on New Year’s Eve in Baltimore.
This makes for a very brutal opening scene that – understandably so – causes panic in the city.
This very character-driven thriller stars Shailene Woodley and Ben Mendelsohn. Two actors I found worked perfectly together. Overall, the story also focuses on the politics of working on a high-profile case. This element hit even harder as I’d just finished watching the Netflix documentary American Manhunt: The Boston Marathon Bombing.
Continue reading our To Catch a Killer movie review below. Find it in theaters from April 21, 2023.
A world full of misanthropes
To Catch a Killer was originally titled Misanthrope which clearly refers to the killer. And yes, we do actually get to hear quite a lot from him as well. Both in terms of his life and motive. Whether you can recognize or agree with this motive isn’t really relevant. After all, that’s what makes this serial killer different from most other people!
WHAT IS A MISANTHROPE?
A misanthrope is someone who has a general hatred, dislike, contempt, and distrust of both human beings, human behavior, and human nature in general.
It’s safe to say that the killer being chased is quite misanthropic. While we don’t get to see his face at first, he is recognizable a while before if you’re familiar with the actor playing him. Once they identify the killer, they still need to find him.
And it’s actually in this process – both of identifying and finding him – that it becomes apparent that many people in this movie are misanthropes. In fact, those that fight for justice are also constantly confronted with situations that are not fair or right. Combined with past trauma, this makes for quite a dark worldview. And you can’t blame any of them.
However, clearly, everyone misanthropic isn’t going around killing people. And therein lies the all-important difference!
Shailene Woodley and Ben Mendelsohn star
Look, I know Shailene Woodley is one of those actors that have become a target. A person that some people just dislike for no particular reason – or every single tiny weird reason they can think of. Usually, the actors who suffer this obscure form of hate are young women who speak up and make their voices – and yes, opinions – heard.
I really like Shailene Woodley (Big Little Lies), so I can just watch her in a movie like this and relate to what she’s doing with her character. In this case, I think she’s doing an awesome job. Her character is a broken individual, in many ways, and not unlike Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Incidentally, Foster and Woodley co-starred in The Mauritanian (2021).
And yet, Shailene Woodley’s character as police officer Eleanor Falco is a lot darker and has been (still is, in some ways) broken in an all-too-familiar way. To me, Shailene Woodley manages to exude both pain and strength in her portrayal which is exactly what’s needed.
Also, she works perfectly across from Ben Mendelsohn (The Outsider). He is an FBI Agent who sees her talent and tenacity and wants her on his team. But he is also brutal and ruthless when it comes to doing things the right way. His hand may be forced – in fact, it often is – but he takes responsibility and tries his best to play the political game.
Finally, there’s Ralph Ineson (The VVitch) is that final key role. His extremely deep voice is booming and makes him seem both soft and all-powerful depending on what words are being spoken.
Watch To Catch a Killer in US theaters!
Argentinian director Damián Szifron is the filmmaker behind To Catch a Killer. He directed the movie and also co-wrote the screenplay with Jonathan Wakeham. It’s the feature film debut of screenwriter Jonathan Wakeham. Damián Szifron, on the other hand, is already an award-winning filmmaker.
He directed the 2014 genre-mix Wild Tales which won a BAFTA for “Best Film not in the English Language” and was also nominated for the “Best Foreign Language Film” Oscar. The film is actually on the IMDb Top Rated Movie list (at #196 as I’m writing this). To Catch a Killer is his first movie since Wild Tales (2014).
The movie has a runtime that is just shy of two hours (1 hour and 59 minutes) including end credits. If you think this sounds like it might be too long or slow-paced, I’m happy to report that it really isn’t. I never stopped to think about how much time had passed.
And I can easily see more movies coming out in the future with Shailene Woodley’s character as Eleanor Falco trying to catch a new killer.
To Catch a Killer opens in US theaters on April 21, 2023.
Director: Damián Szifron
Writers: Damián Szifron, Jonathan Wakeham
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn, Jovan Adepo
A modern-day Clarice Starling, Eleanor (Shailene Woodley) is a young police investigator wrestling with the demons of her past when she is recruited by the FBI’s chief investigator (Ben Mendelsohn) to help profile and track the work of a disturbed individual. As the police and FBI launch a nationwide manhunt, they are thwarted at every turn by the individual’s unprecedented behavior. Given her tortured psyche, Eleanor may be the only person who can understand the mind of their assailant and bring him to justice.