KISS THE GIRLS
The film is adapted from Kiss the Girls (1995), the second in a series of at current count twenty-two novels by thriller writer James Patterson featuring the African-American criminal profiler Alex Cross. It is an effective if not a standout entry in this burgeoning mini-genre. The film is well directed by Gary Fleder who made the sf film The Companion (1994) and broke through with Things to Do in Denver When Youre Dead (1996) and commercial successes like this, Dont Say a Word (2001) and Runaway Jury (2003), before returning to genre material with the Philip K. Dick adaptation Impostor (2002) and A Midsummers Nightmare (2017), plus producing the tv series Beauty and the Beast (2012-6).
Some of the shocks come with soft subtlety and absorbing suspense the scenes in the cell with the masked killer and Ashley Judds discovery of the other girls are effectively eerie, while the opening credits sequences are striking. The film also contains two fine lead performances from Morgan Freeman, one of the finest African-American actors in the world, and from Ashley Judd, who crafts a strong and sympathetic character in a genre that would usually cast her character as a victim. (This was the part that brought Ashley Judd to attention as an actress and she has since gone on to become an A-list star).
The plot has some nicely written pieces the opening suicide attempt scene has some captivatingly good dialogue. However, about the time that the film introduces a second killer, the plot and its running about becomes ungainly, especially in the implausible insistence on having to throw Ashley Judd into every scene. You cannot help picking holes in it too unlike the lead character, as far as one is aware, no police force in the US with the exception of the FBI employs forensic psychologists as frontline police detectives.
The sequel, also featuring Morgan Freeman, was Along Came a Spider (2001). The series was later rebooted with Alex Cross (2012) starring Tyler Perry in the title role. The only other genre works that James Patterson has been associated with is as creator/producer of the animals attack tv series Zoo (2015-7) and Maximum Ride (2016) adapted from his Young Adult work about genetically-engineered children.
(Nominee for Best Actor (Morgan Freeman) and Best Actress (Ashley Judd) at this sites Best of 1997 Awards).