‘To Catch A Killer’ Review: Shailene Woodley Tracks Sniper In Top-Notch Thriller

Co-starring Ben Mendelsohn, movie hits theaters April 21.


Shailene Woodley stars in To Catch A Killer, a movie that some may feel echoes Silence of the Lambs. The feature, however, delivers on its premise and is powered by first rate performances from Woodley and Ben Mendelsohn. All three of us gave it a glowing review on CinemAddicts, and it’s worth catching at your local theater.

Front (L-R): Shailene Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn, Jovan Adepo in “To Catch A Killer” (Vertical)

In fairness, the movie’s official plot summary describes police office Eleanor Falco (Shailene Woodley) as a “modern-day Clarice Starling.” I’m assuming that filmmaker Damián Szifron does not mind the Silence of the Lambs comparison.

Eleanor gets promoted after a sniper goes on a killing spree in Baltimore on New Years Eve. FBI chief investigator Geoffrey Lammark (Ben Mendelsohn) gives Eleanor a new position as a liason between the police and the FBI. They are both top crime analysts (Geoffrey sees a ton of potential in Eleanor), and their team-up could lead to the killer’s capture. Rounding out their task force is Mackenzie (Jovan Adepo). Though Mackenzie is the third banana in the mix, he does have a pivotal sequence in a convenience story involving Eleanor.

Shailene Woodley, Jovan Adepo, Ben Mendelsohn in “To Catch A Killer” (Vertical)

Crime thrillers these days are often shot with a limited budget and are B-level features which, as a fan of the genre, is fine by me. Under the asured hands of Szifron and cinematographer Javier Julia, To Catch A Killer is a much more elevated experience.

There are several set pieces (a mall encounter, garbade dump search) that are either visually arresting or perfectly paced. Sziforn lets the story, which he co-wrote with Jonathan Wakeham, breathe. Moments of character building between Eleanor and Geoffrey add to the film’s storytelling depth and are not executed in an obligatory fashion.

Listen to our To Catch A Killer review on CinemAddicts:

Running at 119 minutes, the narrative gradually draws the viewer in before packing a knockout, third-act punch. Mendelsohn may draw viewers in with his magnetic work, but Woodley also shines with a more restrained performance.

Shailene Woodley in “To Catch A Killer” (Vertical)

If you want an eye-catching and gripping crime thriller, To Catch A Killer is worth “catching” in theaters starting April 21 (excuse the pun) via Vertical. Let us know your thoughts on To Catch A Killer!

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