HANGMAN follows the story of Will Ruiney (Karl Urban) and Ray Archer (Al Pacino), a criminal profiler and a retired homicide detective, respectively. Reporter Christi Davies (Brittany Snow), is ghosting them as she attempts to gather information on a story and ultimately gets thrown into a serial killer case both men are trying to solve.
The film follows the narrative of a common movie trope. A psychopathic genius that goes on a killing spree to prove a point or to get a message across to the leading characters. And just like similar movie serial killers, HANGMAN‘s killer leaves his victims in an interesting way. Not only did he leave our heroes guessing his next move, this reviewer was also highly intrigued. The “presentation” of the victims was gruesome yet fascinating. Unfortunately, this all fell flat towards the end of the film. Without revealing too much, I had more questions than answers about the Hangman.
As a fan of police/serial killer suspense films, I felt as if a lot of information and clues were not clearly shown and was left on the audience to connect the dots. Exposition to an important subplot was also not clearly explained at first. I am a fan of “show don’t tell”, and felt that this film didn’t do enough of that. At least in the parts that mattered. Another minor issue that I felt could have been emphasized more was why Pacino’s character, Archer, was there in the first place. It wasn’t clearly stated if and why he was a great detective that suddenly decided to help Urban’s Ruiney character. Besides the fact that they knew each other from before. As the film goes on, it does make a point to show that Archer is very experienced and figured out the killer’s next move.
All in all, this film did have me interested, but unfortunately fell flat at the end with the Hangman’s reveal. The core idea and plot of the film would have won this reviewer over if certain things were clearer. Despite some writing issues, the pacing and evoked emotion of the film was really solid. The tone was constant throughout the whole film and worked well with the idea of the movie. It goes without saying that both Karl Urban and Al Pacino are masters of their craft. Urban’s Ruiney convinced me that he was determined to solve this case and to catch the Hangman. While Pacino’s Archer was very…Al Pacino like. Which I believe is what the writers and director wanted from him. Which works for his character and this film.
Despite my somewhat critical review, I say give this film a go and play the HANGMAN.
HANGMAN is now in select theaters nationwide.