TEXAS KILLING FIELDS is inspired by real events. Some
reviewers have brought up the fact that film doesn't have much to do with the real cases that inspired the novel which in
turn was adapted into a film directed by Michael Mann's daughter, Ami Canaan Mann. Danny Boyle was originally
attached and dropped out of the project. The script is uneven in places, but TEXAS KILLING FIELDS did manage
to suck me in about halfway into the movie. The other thing that kept me watching were the performances from Sam Worthington
(the best thing from TERMINATOR: SALVATION), Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Jessica Chastain. They play the detectives
investigating a series of murders in an area of the Texas Bayou known as the Texas Killing Fields. Their characters
are what kept me watching while every other character felt very underdeveloped. Chloe Moretz starts out with a very
promising character only to see hints of what her character is going through.
Souder (Worthington) and Detective Heigh (Morgan) are partners. Heigh can't seem to let the cases go and even share
them with his wife while Souder wants to distance himself from the cases. He even has friction with his ex-wife Pam
Stall (Chastain) who calls Heigh to help investigate the killings in the fields. The killers even taunt Souder and
Heigh by calling from one of the victim's cell phones. Heigh is sucked into the darkness while Souder wants to stay
far away from the chaos. Moretz is a 12 year old girl Ann that Heigh wants to help like a social worker (even
taking her for dinner to meet his wife and family). Ann is living with a troubled family where she does the
best to cope with a messed up childhood and family life. Meanwhile, Souder is reluctantly drawn into a case he doesn't
want to be a part of because the fields aren't in the jurisdiction of Texas City.
TEXAS KILLING FIELDS is a fine rental, but it would have been a crime thriller classic if they took the time to
flesh out the characters more and draw more on the real cases which amounted to almost 30 murders over 28 years
while the film doesn't even come close to covering the cases and how they effect the area.
The audio commentary with Ami Mann
and screenwriter Donald A Ferrarone touches on the real cases and the filming of the movie in Louisana. Also included
on the disc is the theatrical trailer. Sadly no featurette on the real cases and the real detectives is included
on the disc.
FINAL ANALYSIS: TEXAS KILLING FIELDS is a flawed thriller with strong
performances from the lead actors playing the detectives. It is a frustrating experience at time while developing the
story and fleshing out the other characters would have made this a strong thriller instead of a mixed and something involving
dark crime film.
this DVD review is (c)2-10-2012 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted
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