Texas Killing Fields

(2011)

Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Review: Texas Killing Fields

Transcript for Review: Texas Killing Fields

 

 CHRISTY: "Texas Killing Fields" is inspired by the real-life murders of dozens of women over several decades. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Sam Worthington co-star as a couple of cops in Texas City, in the swampy, Southern part of the state. Morgan plays a transplant from New York who wants to go into this foreboding area to investigate. But Worthington, as the local boy, knows better. Jessica Chastain plays a detective from another agency who is also looking into these missing-persons cases, and getting frustrated at the lack of help she's receiving.    One girl who's in particular danger as a potential target is the lonely and neglected Anne, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. She looks to Morgan's character as a rare source of stability in her life.  "Texas Killing Fields" was directed by Ami Canaan Mann, daughter of Michael Mann, who's a producer on the film. And so comparisons are inevitable, especially since she's made the kind of moody, pulpy crime thriller that he made his name on. The narrative ultimately feels unfocused, though, as all the multiple threads trail off in various directions. I wish the script had been tighter but still, my thumb is up.

IGNATIY: My thumb is down.

CHRISTY: Okay.

IGNATIY: Um, not, it’s not a very strong thumbs down; a mild thumbs down. Um, I mean this is a pretty routine police procedural with, you know, a little bit of regional flavor, and it’s not terribly different from, you know, say a very arty episode of Law & Order SVU.

CHRISTY: It does feel like a TV pilot. I will agree with you—establishing its characters and it’s place. Yes.

IGNATIY: It…it’s true and it does a much better job of it establishing the, you know, the characters then it really does of doing much with the characters.  Um, and I’d say the crime is too vague. There are too many red herrings.

CHRISTY: There are many crimes.

IGNATIY: There are many crimes.

CHRISTY: That’s part of the problem. That’s like if you stop and think to yourself okay “which girl are they looking for I can’t remember?”

IGNATIY: I mean there are many films that can make the sort of red herrings investigation really interesting.  I think Zodiac is a really great example of that. Um, in this case, it…it just weakens the film.  I don’t think there’s enough at it’s center for the…the red herrings to really work—I just think there are big holes in the film.

CHRISTY: I disagree with your…I disagree with your problem with the characterization.  I mean there is a classic good cop bad cop structure here.  Morgan’s a good cop for a long time.  Worthington is the bad cop, but as things get crazier they do switch roles, and Worthington becomes the voice of reason, and Morgan goes a little bit nuts, and I kind of like that evolution in them both.

IGNATIY: They’re some good things as I said a mild thumbs…thumbs down. You know maybe on a different day I might give this a thumbs up.