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  • Simultaneously wasting the talents of Ashley Judd, Andy Garcia, Samuel L. Jackson, and director Philip Kaufman
  • Recycling the old "cop who gets too close to the case and/or just might be the killer" trope for the umpteen millionth time
  • Dressing up a Cinemax-style erotic-thriller script barely worthy of Shannon Tweed with A-movie production values and an A-list director and cast
  • Undercutting the tormented nature of Judd's hard-drinking, promiscuous character by giving her an adorable pixie haircut

    Director Philip Kaufman

    Tone Of Commentary
    Pretentious, highbrow, insufferable. Throughout the commentary, Kaufman behaves like a pompous college film professor—the kind students can't wait to viciously mock after class—walking his pupils through the clues, themes, motifs, and devices of a universally revered classic. It's easy to imagine him recording the commentary in a tweed jacket with corduroy patches at the elbows, sipping from a glass of sherry, holding a pipe thoughtfully, and stroking his chin during scenes he finds particularly enthralling.

    What Went Wrong
    Nothing, apparently. What the rest of the world perceived as a hackneyed disaster is, in Kaufman's estimation, a brilliantly acted, visually rich noir masterpiece filled with resonant archetypes and moral ambiguity.

    Comments On The Cast
    Many members of the cast foolishly wasted time with research so they could more convincingly capture all one dimension of their cardboard characters. Jackson masochistically pursued his role even though it wasn't written for a black actor. Or, for that matter, a good actor. Judd (whose swagger is singled out as especially awesome) and Garcia are praised as great performers.

    Inevitable Dash Of Pretension
    An amusing drinking game could be derived from taking a shot every time Kaufman points out a recurring visual motif or suggestively utters "twisted"—see, it's called Twisted on account of there are so many things twisted about it and its characters—and "film noir." Jackson's character is compared to Othello.

    Commentary In A Nutshell
    "I'd been wanting to make a film noir in San Francisco for years," Kaufman says. "When I read this story of a woman homicide inspector who came to believe that she herself might be the killer, I was entranced."