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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Kiss the Girls (1997)



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Plotwise, this mystery thriller about a psychotic abductor of women is nothing new. The ending, in particular, is too familiar and predictable. It also falls into a trap that plagues much of this whole genre. In mysteries like this, it's the mystery that's important, not the crime. Kiss the Girls, like The General's Daughter and others, dwells too much on the suffering of the victims. At least most of it is suggested rather than seen; it is this last measure of restraint that keeps the movie from crumbling underneath itself.

But director Gary Fleder infuses some life into the material with moods, settings, and the way he directs the actors. The heroine (Ashley Judd), for example, is neither the stereotypical damsel in distress, nor the stereotypical Strong Woman, but somewhere in between that smacks more of real life than either extreme. Morgan Freeman, playing forensic psychologist Alex Cross, lends quiet strength and dignity to both his character and the film, and it's fun to watch him unravel the clues.

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