Movie Review: Texas Killing Fields (2011)

Murder is bad. Don’t do it.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gents… “Texas Killing Fields”.

Brian Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Mike Souder (Sam Worthington) are a pair of detectives investigating a series of unsolved murders in Texas. So we follow them as they try to untangle this web of who and why. So now we have our crime-drama. And is the plot here any good? The premise is actually quite intriguing, but the execution is quite average. It’s not bad, with the initial setup being good and some pretty solid moments being spread throughout, but overall it doesn’t do a whole lot to stand out from other thrillers out there. I can say though that I wasn’t ever bored… I just never found myself fully invested in the story of this movie. It’s just… fine.

The characters here are surprisingly layered and interesting. Sure, they’re not the deepest ponds in the county, but I was genuinely surprised at how interested I was in them. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Brian Heigh, a New York detective who had been transferred down to Texas to work with them. He’s a tough but caring man, being what you’d probably call “good cop” in an interrogation. And Morgan is great in the role. Sam Worthington plays Mike Souder, a local Texas cop who is Heigh’s partner in this investigation. He’s a bit of a short-fused asshole, and the “bad cop” of the two. And I have to say that Worthington was good in the role. The two also share some okay chemistry, not Riggs & Murtaugh levels of chemistry, but they do work pretty well together. Jessica Chastain plays another detective in this movie, though working in a different precinct, and she’s really good in the role. Chloë Grace Moretz plays a young girl named Ann. She’s neglected by her mom and she in general doesn’t seem to have a great life. But she’s pretty interesting and Moretz is really good in the role. You also get some solid supporting performances from people like Jason Clarke, Annabeth Gish, Sheryl Lee, and Stephen Graham. So yeah, this is a well acted movie.

The score was composed by Dickon Hinchliffe and I have mixed feelings about it. There are tracks in it that are very atmospheric, adding to the scenes they’re used in, perfectly fitting the setting. Then there are also tracks that feel out of place, sounding like something you’d hear in an episode of “Justified”. And while that isn’t an inherently bad thing, it just sounds a bit off in this movie. I’ll at least give the score this: It heavily features acoustic guitar, which is something I always enjoy hearing. But yeah, overall the score here is… mixed.

This movie was directed by Ami Canaan Mann, daughter of Michael Mann. And I think she did a pretty good job here. There’s a good amount of solid camera work here, and some overall neat visuals at times. There are also a couple of mediocrely directed moments, mainly stuff that is shot in the dark where you can’t see shit. But for the most part this movie is well directed. There are also like two, small-ish action scenes in the movie and they were okay, not great, not bad. Mann even man(n)ages to get some pretty good suspense out of a couple of scenes in the movie, which is something I didn’t exactly expect. So the directing here is good. Still, I’m a little bit disappointed, mainly because Danny Boyle was supposed to direct it at one point but then dropped out. Oh well, c’est la vie. Good job, Mann.

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 36% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 49/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,7/10.

While “Texas Killing Fields” isn’t a great movie, it’s still a pretty solid rainy day thriller. It has an okay plot, pretty good characters, really good performances, good music, and good directing. Flaws with the movie are that the plot is just fine, and the music being a bit off at times. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Texas Killing Fields” is a 6,99/10. So while quite flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Texas Killing Fields” is now completed.

Loosely based on real events.

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