Newest Review: ... both went some way towards marring my overall enjoyment of the film. The storyline of Copycat is interesting, although I possib... more
Can this killer be caught?
Member Name: GentleGenius
Advantages: Good storyline, some good acting, fairly tense, quite gripping
Disadvantages: Sigourney Weaver's sniffing, Holly Hudson, somewhat contrived in parts
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 123 mins
DIRECTOR: John Amiel
PRODUCERS: Arnon Milichan & Mark Tarlov
SCREENPLAY: Ann Biderman & David Madsen
MUSIC: Christopher Young
Sigourney Weaver as Helen Hudson
Holly Hunter as Det. Monahan
Dermot Mulroney as Det. Goetz
William McNamara as Peter Foley
Harry Connick Jr. as Daryll Cullum
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Some years after having been attacked by Daryll Cullum who was one of her pupils, retired criminal psychologist and lecturer Helen Hudson is called upon to assist San Francisco's police department with the profile-building and tracking down of an elusive serial killer who initially appears to show no typical pattern to his murder sprees. Helen is very reticent to help at first, as since she was attacked, she has severe agoraphobia and fears that any assistance she offers the police may involve leaving her home. She does eventually, albeit with some initial reluctance, agree to help the police and from her apartment plus using computer technology, gradually notices a definite, yet unusual pattern emerging through which the at large serial killer is committing his crimes.
That sets the plot.....those who are interested to find out more, must watch it for themselves.
First things first! Despite me being drawn into the film immediately and riveted to the screen, once the initial part was over and Helen Hudson is confined to her apartment due to suffering severe agoraphobia, I found Sigourney Weaver peppering Helen's role with an almost perpetural sniff, to be maddeningly infuriating. Second things second! The voice Holly Hudson put on for the role of Det. Monahan, irritated me to the point where I wanted to reach into the screen and strangle her. Those two issues are set in stone very early on in Copycat, and continue right through until the closing credits....they both went some way towards marring my overall enjoyment of the film.
The storyline of Copycat is interesting, although I possibly erroneously feel that once the motive and pattern of the at large serial killer is pinpointed by Helen Hudson, the revelation is a little far-fetched, because it's my understanding that serial killers simply don't work like that....but, it regardless does make a refreshing change to have a slant put on a film of this nature that is different to the norm, even if it doesn't adhere verbatim to text-book accuracy.
Helen Hudson (aside from the sniff!) is a moderately appealing character who has difficulty coping with the long-term aftermath of an extremely nasty experience which has resulted in her agoraphobia, and I feel that Sigourney Weaver did manage to accurately inject a decent, realistic neurotic ambience about not just herself, but the apartment where she lives too, which nicely portrays the character of the slightly feisty, yet deeply fearful Helen.....a beautiful abode in a semi-modernistic sort of way, but totally geared towards serving the lifestyle of somebody who is unable to walk outside their front door.
I really was quite unhappy with Holly Hudson's performance as Det. Monahan. Aside from the silly voice (mentioned above), I felt she was, whether by design or sub-conscious accident, attempting to imitate the character of Clarice Starling in Silence Of The Lambs...and I thus didn't find it very original or appealing. Even the way Holly pronounces most of her words is almost identical to Jodie Foster's rather marvellous lead female role in Silence Of The Lambs. I would have found Det. Monahan's character far more convincing had Holly have injected believable levels of vulnerability into her role...I do think she tried to, but her efforts didn't quite lure me in, as it appeared to me that she was stabbing at the role rather than completely throwing herself into it and actually becoming her character. I also found Dermot Mulroney's portrayal of Det. Goetz a little weak...a very pleasant guy, but not anywhere near gutsy enough to carry off what I feel should have been a hard-nosed, tough cop role rather than him coming across as Mr. Too Nice!
My absolute favourite actors in Copycat were Harry Connick Jr. as the rather disturbing, off-the-wall, dangerous individual Daryll Cullum, and William McNamara as serial killer Peter Foley. I did find the character of Daryll Cullum pretty scary and too close for comfort...I have in my life had the misfortune to meet somebody similar to him, and this Daryll Cullum person is pretty much spot-on. The character of Peter Foley, marvellously delivered by William McNamara, is exactly how I would expect a serial killer to be, both in his day to day persona, and what he gets up to each time he takes a walk into the darkest corridors of his mind, it totally compensating for the what I as an individual understand as the slight discrepancy in the way the storyline deals with the motive behind his murders.
The music to Copycat has a foot in both camps. Some of it blends in with what happens on screen very well, enhancing the atmosphere during the film, yet at other times I find it a little too intrusive....I have heard much worse though.
From what I have said above, it will I'm sure appear as if I have a complete downer on Copycat, but the reverse is actually the case. Most of the film is extremely well done, especially some of the scenes of violence and murder. It is true that the viewer will witness some grisly scenes, but not overly so - I have seen much more blood and guts in other films than this one has to offer, but I also found a couple of the scenes quite hard to watch, due to personal squeamishness about certain things. For instance, close to the beginning of Copycat when we are shown Helen being attacked, she is suspended above a toilet seat with a rope around her neck, very close to death from choking. Sigourney Weaver acts that part so very well that whilst I was watching it, I could almost feel the rope pulling on my own neck, and I had to look away from the screen for a couple of moments.
Copycat certainly is an interesting film, with a storyline that is easy to follow, and even if it does wander a little from the very limited behavioural patterns that serial killers are notorious for strictly staying within, we are here shown a very interesting peep inside of what makes a serial killer's mind work in the way that it does. Copycat isn't in the slightest bit short on entertainment value. The pace is fast, without racing ahead of itself and there is always something going on. The links between the story's little, minor offshoots are relevant, and are eased seamlessly into the main theme without creating any confusion or distraction.
This exciting, interesting film is well worth giving up an evening's TV or a trip to the pub for. It has an equal balance of action and suspense, with even a little realism thrown in at various points. If you find the concept of serial killers fascinating, then I really would recommend you give this a viewing, that's if you can tolerate Sigourney Weaver's habitual sniff and Holly Hunter's silly voice....it sounds as if she's taken a shot of helium! Despite my reported niggles in this review, I certainly enjoyed the film immensely, although it might be some time before I give it a second go, simply because it's one of those movies that needs to be stood back from for a while before repeating the experience.
At the time of writing, Copycat can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £1.63 to £15.11
Used: from 74p to £6.11
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: A good, well worth watching film, but there for me was a little something missing