Texas Killing Fields

Ami Canaan Mann follows in her dad's footsteps with a stylish serial-killer flick

Texas Killing Fields

(C) 2011 Gideon Productions, LLC All Rights Reserved.

Director: Ami Canaan Mann
Starring: Sam Worthington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Time Out rating:
Japanese title: Killing Fields: Shisso Chitai

Watch your backs, pardners... there's some murderous mischief going on in the Lone Star State. In Ami Canaan (offspring of Michael) Mann's effective, if generic, thriller, brooding detectives Mike Souder (Sam Worthington) and Brian Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) risk life, limb and sanity to catch a serial killer. The desolate fields outside Texas City are the murderer's base of operation; the victims are all young women, which doesn't bode well for Anne (Chloe Grace Moretz), the troubled preteen Heigh has taken under his wing. And it's not like Souder has it any easier, since his firebrand ex-wife, Pam (Jessica Chastain, finally making movies again after a weeklong sabbatical), is the cop in charge of the investigation.

The identity of the villain is beside the point; he-she-it might as well have a Looney Tunes-ish neon arrow emblazoned KILLER! pointing at their noggin. What matters more is the thick sense of atmosphere that Mann and her collaborators conjure. Brows sweat profusely (the humidity practically seeps offscreen), Dickon Hinchliffe's droning score is Tangerine Dream-y, and there are several standout sequences, as when a freak rainstorm threatens to wash away some crucial evidence, that show real directorial chops. When it comes to scenes in which characters are asked to say more than two words, however, the filmmaker's a decided amateur; Moretz, in particular, seems hopelessly stranded as the attitudinal wild child. Like father, like daughter: Mann's characters are best when they're brusque.

Texas Killing Fields opens at Human Trust Cinema Shibuya on April 14

By Keith Uhlich
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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