Thursday, December 21, 2017

'Hangman' chokes on bad dialogue

I don't make 10-worst lists anymore, mostly because I'd rather devote my end-of-the-year writing to movies that earned praise and did something to advance what I think of (perhaps naively) as cinema culture. If I did want to point to some of the year's worst movies, I'd have difficulty keeping Hangman off the list. A thriller that allows an exhausted looking Al Pacino to dredge out a southern accent, Hangman involves its entire cast (also included are Brittany Snow and Karl Urban) to founder. Another police procedural about cops trying to catch a serial killer, Hangman serves up reams of unimaginative dialogue and dull plot twists. Snow plays a New York Times reporter who returns to her southern hometown to do a story about what it's like to be a detective. She joins Urban's character as the stumbles through an investigation. The screenplay contrives to bring Pacino's Archer, a retired detective with a fondness for crossword puzzles, into the fray. Director Johnny Martin gets nothing out of his cast as this preposterous thriller lumbers toward obscurity. The title, by the way, derives form the killer, a fiend who uses the Hangman game in his crimes, adding a letter to each blank as he commits a new and grisly murder. If someone were to autopsy this dud, only three letters would be possible: DOA.

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