Sunday, February 1, 2015

Film Pairings — Tough Cops Up Against The Glass Ceiling

As regular readers know, the choices here are not necessarily the best crime fiction films ever.  In some cases, I look at movies that might have slipped under the radar for good reason.  My thinking is that even a mediocre crime film might be more entertaining than an evening of reruns or the fifth time through a Suzie Orman money management lecture, when in fact, you have no money to manage.  Here are two flawed movies, each with some interesting moments.  The two movies provide an interesting study about how two female cops (and the people who play them) can fight gender bias and their own demons get the job done.

Andy Garcia and Ashley Judd
Twisted — Ashley Judd takes the lead in murder investigations that somehow lead back to her.  She must fight against the department’s entrenched beliefs that women are less capable of dealing with such tough assignments and that she, in particular, may not be up to the task.  Samuel L. Jackson plays her mentor, Andy Garcia her partner, and David Strathairn her mental health counselor. The director Philip Kaufman and cinematographer Peter Deming make the best of San Francisco’s dramatically photogenic locations to set the noirish mood. Twisted was released in 2004

Sandra Bullock and Ryan Gosling
Murder By Numbers — I’ve mentioned the famous Leopold and Loeb case as the basis for a number of films in earlier posts. This is another one, though the focus here is on he crime solver, not the criminals. Sandra Bullock gives a more credible performance than Ashley Judd as the somewhat complex, troubled homicide detective. Young Ryan Gosling and Michael Pitt provide Bullock with ample challenge.  Gosling is charmingly obnoxious, portraying a character just as maddening and difficult as the character Bullock portrays.  Murder By Numbers was directed by Barbet Schroeder and released in 2002.

A casual night.  You probably won’t be biting your fingernails, but perhaps enjoying a crime film not driven by testosterone. How about some Cabernet or a café au lait?

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