To Catch A Killer 2023 Movie Scene Ben Mendelsohn as Lammark in the morgue next to the bodies of the victims of the mass shooting

To Catch A Killer [2023]

Behind a rather generic title To Catch A Killer hides a rather generic serial killer movie with one hell of an opening scene. I think that a good indication of just how generic the title is is the fact that the movie was promptly retitled to Misanthrope. We will be following a police investigation into a brutal mass shooting. And the subsequent hunt for an unusual killer who leaves no clues behind him. Or her. I still can’t get over that opening sequence that just grips your attention like a motherfucker. It’s expertly shot and directed, offering a harrowing look into a devastating tragedy. What makes it even more fucked up are the similarities to the infamous 2017 Las Vegas shooting

A couple of months ago, I checked out a documentary 11 Minutes about this tragedy. I highly recommend it but just know it’s going to be a bit difficult to sit through. Moving on, there were some cracks appearing during those opening ten minutes that signaled To Catch A Killer might not be such a great movie after all. The dialogue felt a bit off at times and our main character appeared to be just too good. However, I forgot all about that once the investigation started. We were back at the familiar territory with a grizzled older detective who’s been through the wringer showing the younger apprentice how shit actually works.

We will get an insider’s look into a high-profile investigation with various different agencies vying for influence and clout. Officials will be trying to cover things up and trigger-happy operators will be looking for someone to shoot. In the midst of this chaos, one man and his close circle will try to get to the bottom of the case. You might say it’s Waco all over again. Do check out an excellent five-part 2018 miniseries titled Waco for more info. Shailene Woodley (Little Big Lies) was excellent as troubled rookie cop Eleanor and you already know Ben Mendelsohn gave a good performance. He played a similar character in Stephen King’s The Outsider.

After a horrific mass shooting, veteran Detective Lammark takes charge of the case that left dozens of families in grief. The killer left almost no clues about his identity or why he committed such a cruel crime. So, Lammark recruits a troubled rookie cop Eleanor Falco to help him with the investigation. The demons she’s battling bring her closer to the mind of the killer. And if she can think like him, maybe she can find out who and where he is before he strikes again.

To Catch a Killer AKA Misanthrope reminds me of two movies we’ve recently talked about. Denzel Washington’s The Little Things is a by-the-book serial killer movie just like this one. And it shares the same visual aesthetic with Chadwick Boseman’s 21 Bridges. I was pretty shocked when I realized that the director of To Catch a Killer is none other than Damián Szifron. He’s an Argentinian director who made the most popular movie in Argentinian history Wild Tales AKA Relatos Salvajes. The script consists of familiar phrases with just occasional sparks of brilliance. It’s like they were trying so hard to make a compromise between the tropes of the genre and the brutality of this new approach. 

The end result is a forgettable thriller that’s neither here nor there. It briefly explores some pretty interesting issues, never really committing to anything. However, I did love how it exposes the corrupt system we currently live in. A system that treats human beings as trash, never course-correcting because that’s a sign of weakness and wrongdoing. A perfect representation of the tribal system of values and its extension, capitalism. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another stunning performance by Ralph Ineson and his gravelly voice. Do check him out in the highly underrated The Last Victim

Director: Damián Szifron

Writers: Damián Szifron, Jonathan Wakeham

Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn, Jovan Adepo, Ralph Ineson, Richard Zeman, Jason Cavalier

Fun Facts: The story takes place in Baltimore but the movie was supposed to be filmed in Atlanta. Eventually, the production chose Montreal, Canada as their main filming destination.


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