(director/writer: Scott Walker; cinematographer: Patrick Murguia; editor: Sarah Boyd; music: Lorne Balfe;; cast: Nicolas Cage (Jack Halcombe), John Cusack (Robert Hansen), Vanessa Hudgens (Cindy Paulson), Dean Norris (Sgt. Lyle Haugsven), Kevin Dunn (Lt. Bob Jent), Olga Valentina(Jodi Brandon), Michael McGrady(vice Detective John Gentile), Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (Chelle Ringell ), Kurt Fuller (D.A. Pat Clives), Brad William Henke (Carl Galenski), Katherine LaNasa (Fran Hansen), Ryan O’Nan (Gregg Baker), Matt Gerald (Ed Stauber), Gia Mantegna (Debbie Peters), Radha Mitchell (Allie Halcombe), Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (Pimp Johnson); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Mark Ordesky, Jane Fleming, Randall Emmett, Curtis Jackson, Remington Chase, Jeff Rice; The Film Arcade/Lionsgate; 2013)


Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A bleak but atmospheric factual based crime drama that’s written and directed in his directorial debut by the former New Zealander actor Scott Walker. John Cusack plays the real-life Alaskan serial killer Robert Hansen, who 13 years ago, around 1983, around the area of Anchorage, began abducting and killing women, which by the end of his spree added up to 20 victims. Things take a turn when the 17-year-old prostitute escapee Cindy Paulson (Vanessa Hudgens) provides valuable info to the police. But the police refuse to act and the key witness refuses to get involved. The obsessed workaholic, the Alaskan state trooper Jack Halcombe, played by Nicolas Cage, uses that info to go on a risky personal pursuit of the perp and does so without the full co-operation of the state police. The police procedural film turns in too many cliches and feels too much like a cable TV production. But solid acting, taut storytelling and engaging chase scenes make it watchable.The true story inspired one earlier movie as well as several TV episodes.