Twisted (2004) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)


Twisted may have been my biggest disappointment of 2004. It looked good on paper. Philip Kaufman, Samuel Jackson, $50 million dollar budget.

It was directed by Philip Kaufman, and I always find his films interesting. Look at the list of his previous five films:

There is a common thread there. None of the films is predictable. They are all intelligent films. They are all daring for studio films.

So how does Twisted fit in?

It doesn't. It is a mundane, typical Hollywood crime thriller.

OK, fair enough, but it stars Samuel L Jackson. That's cool, right? Tuna and I have always said that a poor movie with Samuel L is not entirely poor, because at least it is entertaining when they turn the camera on Samuel L.

So how does Twisted fit in?

It doesn't. Samuel L did OK, but they gave him the role of the wise old patriarch, a role requiring none of Samuel's energy and humor. In short, they cast him in a role designed for Morgan Freeman. In fact Freeman would have been perfect, given the eventual outcome of the plot, because nobody would ever expect Freeman to be a psychotic killer.

At any rate, the plot is a straightforward police procedural. Ashley Judd plays a newly-appointed homicide detective whose first case turns out to be a string of murders. When she finds the first victim, it shocks her to see that it's a guy she slept with. Ditto for the second victim. Another victim actually turns up in her bed! She is not only the detective, but the #1 suspect. To make matters worse for her,  Judd has a mysterious blackout on the night of each murder, and some serious anger issues. Given those circumstances, and the fact that her own father was a serial killer, Judd is afraid that she may really be the killer.


Ashley Judd shows the side of one breast when she exits a bathtub.

DVD info from Amazon

  • three featurettes

  • several deleted scenes

  • widescreen anamorphic transfer

  • full-length director's commentary

Of course, we know better, since that's not the way Hollywood films work, so solving the mystery is a matter of figuring out who framed her, and that can only be someone who knows enough about her life to connect her to a bunch of guys who were only one-night stands. Yawn. 

In other words, it's kind of a second-rate version of Clint Eastwood's Tightrope, but with a much less interesting outcome. Despite a talented cast and crew and a big budget, this film will disappoint even genre lovers. It's a Hollywood hack job.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus one and a half stars. James Berardinelli 1.5/4, Roger Ebert 1.5/4.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 4.4/10, Yahoo voters call it a C.
  • Box Office Mojo. It was budgeted at $50 million for production, and the distribution/advertising costs are estimated around $20 million. It grossed only $25 million.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a D+. Despite a talented cast and crew, this film will disappoint even genre lovers. It's a Hollywood hack job.

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