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Review: Dot.Kill (2005)

by Ursa McKrackenelectronsexparty.blogspot.com

Best Bad Quote:

“Go see a doctor. That’s why we call ’em doctors.”

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Despite the stupidly redundant and ridiculous title, this film isn’t half bad. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t have some major issues, but it does manage to create a compelling enough story that kept me entertained through the majority of the run time. Charlie Daines (Armand Assante) is a hard-nosed, gruff New York detective who hides the fact that he has terminal cancer. He refuses to get any sort of treatment and eventually resorts to hitting up a former junkie for some morphine.

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Det. Daines is assigned to the case of a killer who broadcasts his kills online, even going as far as to hijack the televisions in Times Square. The human mind has a disease, the killer says. A disease that makes one want things, and then want more things. (So, human nature then?) The killer’s cure for this disease is to kill rich white dudes.

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The severity of Det. Daines illness, and the fact that he refuses treatment, means we already know the ending of this movie. He and the killer will clash and the brave detective will go out in a blaze of glory, taking the murderous psychopath with him. I’m okay with the predictability, as long as the movie can hold my attention as we try to discover the identity of the killer.

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This movie has many, many weaknesses, but its strengths lie in the scenes where Det. Daines interacts with the people close to him. The scenes between him and his wife are tender and bittersweet when they aren’t rife with tension. The scenes between him and the former junkie who has now become his deliverer from pain are heartbreaking . There’s a scene where, frustrated and desperate, Det. Daines beats the shit out his worried and accusatory partner.

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The major problem with this film is that it blows its load too early. As we already know what the ending will be, we need to be strung along with false leads until the very, very end as to the identity of the killer. But, about thirty minutes to the end Det. Daines starts getting really suspicious of someone who  has given him no reason to be suspicious. Maybe in Det. Daines’ world  complimenting a man’s nice family means you are a killer? Maybe, it’s just cop’s intuition?

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No, it’s just plot convenience. It has to be the least likely suspect, fuck logic, because the audience won’t suspect it. But, we know it’s the least likely suspect far from the end. And, even before that, we were being beat over the head with clues. Everything else goes down as expected, and thus we lose interest, because what was holding the thin plot together was the mystery behind the killer. And, the movie never really explains his motivation, or how he set anything up. He’s just “the killer” and that’s that.

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Another problem I had with the movie, maybe one you might find a bit superficial, was the music. It was terrible. Half the time it sounded like someone let their three-year old compose the score, and half the time it sounded like the cheesiest of porn music. The porn music kicked in at the most inopportune times, almost killing any tension or power the scene had.

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Though, despite its numerous problems, this film is not rendered unwatchable. It’s well-acted and mildly interesting enough that you don’t feel completely let down when the screen flashes up the unnecessary “THE END.”

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Rating:

3 out of 5 Banana Phones

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