1 1/2 Stars
Hangman is one of those crime thrillers where the serial killer is not content with only murdering his victims, but must also devise an ingenious and diabolical calling card so that it can be slowly used by an investigator to guess the preps identity and motive. This is one of the most preposterous movies I’ve seen in many a night, and I saw Valerian in a theater just a few months back. Hangman feels 25 years late to the game and it even shares a kinky serial killer plot point from star Al Pacino’s similarly themed 1989 hit, Sea of Love. Still, I liked the visual motif of a ticking clock on the screen, and there is a quiet intensity in a few scenes. But the movie’s a retread from top to bottom; it doesn’t feel original in any facet.
Pacino again plays a policeman on the trail of a twisted killer, and again the clues are vague and the antagonization is evident by the children’s game of Hangman being played out with human victims. Detective Ruiney (Karl Urban) and retired Detective Archer (Pacino) are being called out by a homicidal maniac who strikes at 11 pm and is slowly unveiling his/her identity to the investigators and a feisty female reporter (Brittany Snow), who is assigned to file a story on Runiey. Turns out the detective’s wife was slain in their home and he has recently been allowed back on duty, so this calls for an expose in the NY Times.
Where do great thespians go when they have aged out of leading-man roles? Hangman is the depressing answer to that question. Al Pacino is regarded as one of our national treasures in the acting field. A thespian who is held amongst the legends of the screen. And it is startling how many bad B-movies this Oscar-winning actor has appeared in over the years. To be fair DeNiro has also appeared in his share of direct-to-DVD trash, but Hangman and 88 Minutes have to be regarded as embarrassing eyesores on an over-all stellar career. Director Johnny Martin made the good film Vengeance: A Love Story earlier this year and I’m confident he has the ability to make another good movie in the future, but Hangman is not that film.
Director: Johnny Martin
Stars: Al Pacino, Karl Urban, Brittany Snow