I have a real reservation about a movie that celebrates the cleverness of real life psychopathic killers.


A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.

"Copycat" has Holly Hunter, Sigourney Weaver, a strong supporting cast, a terrific score, and a script so full of holes that it may well leave you out there in your seat, uninvolved. If the measure of a good thriller is its ability to pull the audience in with tantalizing clues, this one never makes it.

Relying instead on the shock value of the ominous promise of things to come, it showers the screen with bugs, blood, scalpels, and nooses--all in the hands of demented serial killers, past, present, and future. One of them is now prowling San Francisco, killing victims in the patterns of the major role models: Son of Sam, the Boston Strangler et al. By the time homicide detective M.J. Monahan (Holly Hunter) and criminal psychologist Helen Hudson (Sigourney Weaver) begin to close in on him, they know they have become his targets.

Hudson, a specialist in the study of serial killers, lectures widely and knowledgeably on her subject until--alone for a moment in the Ladies' Room--she is attacked by her subject. Driven to agoraphobic seclusion by the grotesque experience, she spends the next 13 months closeted in her glorious apartment, surrounded by a highest-tech computer system that links her to the outside world. That apartment may give agoraphobia a good name.

As Hudson and Monahan join in uneasy cahoots to track the killer, we sink into our seats the better to savor the delicious terror that is sure to come. Instead, we are left stranded as the movie slides into an illogical hodgepodge. Whose hand is that in the bed? How did he escape notice while carting a limp body in a red dress around San Francisco? Which killer are we watching now? In short order, we give up trying to understand, and the fun drains away.

But, as a whole, the movie is almost saved from its script by some very good stuff. The production is bright, colorful, and quick. Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter carry the movie entirely, so small are the parts of the fine supporting players. It's two smart women against a smart, depraved man--a real contest.

Composer Christopher Young has written a delectably frightening score that salvages the reign of terror and allows the audience to bathe itself in fear. The mark of good suspense music is the need to cover your ears instead of your eyes. Young has risen to the top of a field that demands an ability to watch a movie in silence and literally bring it to life with music.

But I have a real reservation about a movie that celebrates the cleverness of real-life psychopathic killers. The wild ride of "Speed," the slaphappy violence of James Bond, the fright of a well-made stalker movie--all these are the good stuff of the genre. As it should be, vivid imagination is the source of these films. Let's leave celebrity killers alone and unacknowledged in their darkness.

Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Word Count : 494
Studio : Warner Bros.
Rating : R
Running Time: 2h 3m

Copyright (c) Illusion

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