DVD Review: Profile of a Killer (2012)

Artist View Entertainment - Rent or Buy from Amazon
Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Rated: No MPAA rating
Director: Caspian Tredwell-Owen
Writer: Caspian Tredwell-Owen
Starring: Joey Pollari, Gabriele Angieri, Emily Fradenburgh
Crime | Drama | Psychological Thriller

“The H-61 Killer,” as police are referring to him, has been leaving his trail of badly mauled and mutilated bodies at various places across the Northern Mid-West. As he seems to be on a roll and shows no signs of slowing down, the police call in a retired FBI profiler to try and get a handle on things.

The profiler, a renowned and published author on the criminal psyche, “Saul Aitken” (Gabriele Angieri) seems to be enjoying the slowness of life and the frequent accolades from his book and past accomplishments. His new FBI partner for the assignment, “Rachel Cade” (Emily “Eden,” “Moonlighting” Fradenburgh) is not so taken with him. Her by-the-book sense of procedure and overly cautious approach to the case only add to her already less than likable personality.

After reluctantly agreeing to help with the case for the sake of an old friend, Angieri is taken aback at finding himself thrown in the very center of the murder-mystery he is trying to solve, as he is kidnapped and put to a game of wits with a young and proud “David Jenks” (Joey “Avalon High,” “The Inbetweeners” Pollari) whose only chance at being stopped from killing is to be outsmarted.

Filmed at various locations in Minnesota, this film takes “cat and mouse” to a whole new level. As the FBI task force crunches out the necessary man hours with local law enforcement’s help, the game gets bloodier and bloodier, as Aitken’s chances of being found alive continue to dwindle. It will take teamwork and a masterful use of instinct to finish the job.

Newbie director from the UK, Caspian Tredwell-Owen, steps out from behind a few small roles as writer for various projects and lays down a whopper in the form of this incredible crime/thriller that offers everyone who comes to the table something to enjoy and remember. If it’s sadistic gore you’re after, then Profile of a Killer doesn’t disappoint. Emotional focus with the intensity found in a Scorsesean masterpiece? Yes, sir. It’s got that, too—and achieved with a budget of under 180k.

For the better part of nearly two hours, nothing in the narrative is ever rushed. It never loses or confuses its audience or gives us so much as a second to lose grip of its thrills. Always in focus are the hotly-linked emotional nuances between its leads, who give stellar performances in a film that will all but make you forget that what you are watching is considered a low-budget picture. In short, it will enhance your expectations about what you thought was possible in the world of independent film.

Its cast (and not just the lead characters) are the individual pieces that make this project all the rave, from the well-chosen law enforcement team in the background, all the way up to Angieri who could step right into the shoes of de Niro; and with Fradenburgh who distinctly reminds us a lot of 24’s “Nina Myers” (Sarah Clarke), but who is most carefully laced with that needfully contrasting personality, we are all the more shocked at the characters we get to know. This is one of those films that proves beyond all doubt that there is some truly great acting to be found outside of the big Hollywood names we know.

While it is fairly commonplace to find a highly intense indie film with some great qualities here and there that makes for creative, non-mainstream viewing, it is rare to find one so well-roundedly crafted as this. And when everything – from the dialog, right down to the editing and efficient usage of screen-time – is always advancing the plot, you have a rare bird of a film indeed.

Pollari burns the candle at both ends with the desperation and angst of the disturbed young man he so dynamically presents to us. Getting inside the head of Angieri’s Aitken becomes as much a fascinating look for audiences as the young killer wants it to be for himself. “No one’s born a monster; something has to shake them…abuse, neglect, suffering, it’s how we identify.” says Aitken, as he sits down with Cade. This is the stuff crime buffs want.

With no distracting sideline romances or annoying sub-plots that bog down or else refuse to augment the central story, everyone (and everything) in Profile of a Killer feels as credible and white-hotly focused as it was intended to—while always preserving enough mystery and colorful detail to keep us guessing and wanting more till the very end. This is an indie standard-setter and the bar it sets is awfully high!