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The Films of Jon Amiel

Queen of Hearts

Tune in Tomorrow...

Sommersby

Copycat (August 7/11)

A striking, consistently engaging thriller, Copycat follows agoraphobic psychologist Helen Hudson (Sigourney Weaver) as she reluctantly agrees to help the police track down a vicious serial killer - with Helen's fragile mental state causing the lead detective on the case, Holly Hunter's M.J. Monahan, no end of consternation. Director Jon Amiel, working from Ann Biderman and David Madsen's screenplay, opens Copycat with an absolutely enthralling pre-title sequence revolving around Helen's frightening encounter with a seriously deranged fan (Harry Connick Jr's Daryll Lee Cullum), with the strength of this sequence certainly forcing the viewer to wonder if the film has peaked before it's even hit the five-minute mark. Fortunately, Amiel does a superb job of packing the remainder of the proceedings with a number of equally captivating interludes - with the inherently compelling narrative heightened by the efforts of a uniformly stellar cast. Weaver and Hunter step into their respective roles with an ease that's nothing short of remarkable, while the movie's periphery players, including Dermot Mulroney, William McNamara, and Will Patton, effectively perpetuate the film's irresistible atmosphere of tense authenticity. There's little doubt, however, that the taut pace starts to slacken in its second half, with the slightly overlong running time ensuring that the movie simply isn't able to sustain its impressively suspenseful vibe from start to finish. (Having said that, the film admittedly does recover nicely for an engrossing climax.) It's ultimately clear that Copycat deserves a place alongside Se7en and The Silence of the Lambs as a superior serial-killer thriller, with the palpable chemistry between Weaver and Hunter certainly setting the film apart from its similarly-themed brethren.

out of

The Man Who Knew Too Little

Entrapment

The Core

About the Blu-ray: Warner Bros. presents Copycat with a 1080p transfer and a commentary track with director Jon Amiel.
© David Nusair