"Violence, whether spiritual or physical, is a quest for identity and the meaningful. The less identity, the more violence." - Marshall McLuhan.
I was thinking of that quote from the master of mass communication studies after viewing Profile of a Killer (2012), a particularly admirable far-from-Hollywood indie production that looks as technically solid as most of the fare coming out of L.A. First time feature director Caspian Tredwell-Owen serves notice with this project that he is someone to keep an eye on.
Considering the body count and the gruesome images that abound, the emotional level in Profile of a Killer is at times as cold as the Minnesota scenery and some of the dialogue (particularly belonging to Gabriele Angieri in the role of Saul) seems a bit clumsy and not entirely convincing. Still, the pluses of this low budget production far outweigh any shortcomings.
The cast is solid, particularly Joey Pollari as David - displaying the right balance of cockiness offset by unease in his own skin - and Emily Fradenburgh as Rachel. In a film where the dialogue sometimes runs away a bit, her eyes and body language convey more than words, with her providing a commanding presence throughout.
Visually, the film exceeds expectations for work done on this budgetary level. Tredwell-Owen is in full command, providing high quality looks to every scene. The pacing, while it could be slightly tightened in spots, is mostly appropriate. While dealing with a conventional topic you might expect for a tv movie-of-the-week, the storyline has enough unique aspects to provide elements of surprise at the right moments.
Profile of a Killer is a film that would be worth catching regardless; given that it was done through such micro-means, it deserves a little extra attention to show that it's the work that goes in, not the bucks, that produces riches on the screen.
I say this film tastes - CHILLING.