Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 9/28/98
Kiss the Girls
1997 (1998) - Paramount
review by Bill Hunt,
editor of The Digital Bits
A terrific thriller... almost. Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd give
their best, but the 'surprise' ending is less than satisfying.
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B/C
Yet another dark film, but it looks great in anamorphic widescreen.
The audio is also good. A trailer rounds out the mix.
Overall Rating: B
A very good psychological thriller - not the best you'll ever see,
but entertaining, with excellent performances. Overall, a nice DVD.
117 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer,
film-themed menu screens, scene access (26 chapters), languages:
English & French (DD 5.1), French (DD 2.0), subtitles: Spanish,
Morgan Freeman stars as Alex Cross, a Washington D.C. police
detective who specializes in forensic psychology. Cross can walk
into a crime scene and determine all the "hows and whys".
But when his niece mysteriously disappears from her college campus
in North Carolina, Cross finds himself involved in the most
difficult, and personal, case of his life. Cross learns that the
Durham police, lead by detective Nick Rushkin (Cary Elwes), have
been tracking a long series of similar kidnappings - Cross' niece is
only the latest victim. Worse yet, when one of the girls is found
dead in the woods, Cross realizes that Rushkin and the others have
no clue who the kidnapper is.
Enter Kate Mctiernan (Ashley Judd) an attractive and intelligent
young doctor at a local hospital. Kate is knocked unconscious and
abducted from her house late one evening, and finds herself held in
captivity with the other missing girls, including Cross' niece. The
kidnapper, it seems, is a collector. But Kate manages to escape,
fleeing into the woods and nearly killing herself in the process.
Now she's Cross' only hope for catching the kidnapper, a man known
only as Casanova.
Based on the best-selling novel by James Patterson, Kiss
the Girls is one of those movies where the journey is
more important than the destination. The performances are all
first-rate. Morgan Freeman is as good as ever, and Ashley Judd
really shines. In my opinion, Judd's presence in a film's cast
speaks volumes as to the quality of the project - she's clearly one
of the most talented young actresses working today. The script is
well written, and the direction by Gary Fleder (Things
to Do in Denver when You're Dead) is also generally very
good. The only real problem here is one piece of give-away casting,
that really undermines the finale. I won't give away the ending, but
when the identity of the kidnapper is finally revealed, I was less
than surprised. A lot less. In fact, I had it pegged 20 minutes into
the movie. Oh, well... it's still a darn good flick.
As DVDs go, it's none too bad as well. As with the rest of
Paramount's first wave of DVD releases, Kiss
the Girls is a very dark film. The lighting is very
subdued. The film a bleak, moody look, quite appropriate to the
story. It could easily have been a transfer and compression
nightmare, but the anamorphic widescreen picture on the DVD is
fantastic. Good colors, deep contrast - very nice. It's not quite up
to the level of Face/Off or
First Contact, but it still
The audio is also very good. Once again, you must select the Dolby
Digital 5.1 soundtrack prior to playing the film, or you'll hear
Dolby Surround. The 5.1 track is subtle and atmospheric - no real
surround gimmicks here, which is as it should be. Nonetheless, the
surround channels are nicely used to help create a sense of space,
and to add an extra bit of tension to a scene. The effect is very
satisfying. 5.1 audio is also provided in French, and there are
Spanish subtitles, and English captions. A decent theatrical trailer
is also included.
If you like a good psychological thriller, and first-rate acting,
Kiss the Girls ought to be
right up your alley. The ending doesn't quite deliver after the
build-up, but it's an enjoyable ride anyway. There's some fine work
here by Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. And aside for the lack of
extras, the DVD quality is good all around. Kiss
the Girls definitely merits a look.