The film is far from perfect, but the fact it attempts to do more than most in its genre with fewer resources to work with is the big accomplishment here.
Profile of a Killer
After writing credits for blockbuster titles such as Beyond Borders and The Island, Caspian Tredwell-Owen extends his talents beyond just writing and into directing with his debut of the indie crime thriller, Profile of a Killer. Even if the storyline sounds and even feels like an episode of CSI, Profile of a Killer achieves more than most other psychological thrillers do with less resources. At large the film remains captivating even when some flaws are seen along the way.
The film begins as two young kids are playing on a winter Minnesota day when suddenly one of them finds a head of a skeleton sticking out above the snow. This discovery swiftly launches a full scale investigation by the local police. Similar findings of skeletons start popping up all along U.S. Highway 61 which prompts investors to declare the serial killer the moniker H-61 Killer. The findings leave local police baffled and as the case begins to grow outside their jurisdiction, they are forced to call in the FBI.
Saul Aitken (Gabriele Angieri) is a former FBI agent who has extensive background in serial killer profiling, naturally he was the first name to come up when looking for an expert to head this high-profile investigation. Although Saul is slightly reluctant to remove himself from his comfortable retirement life in Florida, he agrees to take on the case alongside help from FBI Special Agent Rachel Cade (Emily Fradenburgh). This begins a cat and mouse game between the H-61 Killer and the authorities.
Profile of a Killer starts off a little rough. The very opening scene when the kids first find the skeleton is downright comical. The camera zooms in on the bloody head of the skeleton for what feels like an inordinate amount of time, but thankfully the whole scene realistically lasts about 30 seconds. Further editing in a couple other scenes could have helped maintain the aesthetic that the rest of the film had. Although the first 15 minutes of the film remain a pretty standard affair, the film does eventually step off the beaten path and begins to separate itself from most other crime thrillers. The film very well could have been just another serial killer film filled with unnecessary gore, but Profile of a Killer stands apart by being more of a dark coming-of-age story rather than your run-of-the-mill crime thriller.
The most noticeable quality of Profile of a Killer is the high production value of a low budget indie film. The film contains solid use of the camera and a praiseworthy overall effort in art direction. Only a few times did acting performances seem a touch over dramatic but those came from supporting roles rather than the leads. But that could be attributed to their given lines because on several occasions the dialog felt a little off-kilter.
After speaking to Gabriele Angieri after one of the screenings, he informed me that Caspian had originally cast Samuel L. Jackson to play the character, before the $12 million dollar financing fell through. Gabriele’s Italian build closely resembles that of Robert DeNiro, whom I was told also looked over the script. It was a bit surprising to find out that Profile of a Killer was Gabriele’s first feature film, as he handled the role effortlessly as if he has been doing lead roles for years. Because of that, he stood out among the cast as others seemed a little wet behind the ears.
Like many crime thrillers, if you find yourself poking around the plot details afterwards you are bound to find a few holes and unneeded scenes. Profile of a Killer contained a few contrived and eye rolling situations, like when two lead investigators sleep together seemingly only for plot purposes. But fortunately those moments in the film are mostly over-shadowed by excellent pacing in which you find yourself most concerned with what is going to happen next. The film is far from perfect, but the fact it attempts to do more than most in its genre with fewer resources to work with is the big accomplishment here.