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RIGHTEOUS KILL, 2008
Movie Reviews!

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RIGHTEOUS KILL MOVIE POSTER
RIGHTEOUS KILL, 2008
Movie Reviews

Directed by John Avnet
Starring: Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro
Review by Matthew Toffolo



SYNOPSIS:

Two veteran New York City detectives (De Niro and Pacino) work to identify the possible connection between a recent murder and a case they believe they solved years ago; is there a serial killer on the loose, and did they perhaps put the wrong person behind bars?

REVIEW:

Righteous Kill is your average psychological thriller with two of the biggest actors in the last 40 years playing the lead roles. A definite movie to catch because it is very engaging, but even more interesting because DeNiro and Pacino are chewing the scenery giving solid performances as lifer cops searching for a serial killer who is probably one of their own - or maybe one of them.

Righteous Kill in many ways is the Righteous Trilogy for DeNiro and Pacino. In their first collaboration, The Godfather Part II, they share no screen time but parallel father/son stories about morals and figuring out what the right thing to do is. Same with their next film together in Michael Mann's Heat. Again, two characters in parallel stories who both have their own code and morals doing what they think is right. Now in 2008, they are at it again with their 'Righteous' similar theme.

In fact, Righteous seems to be the theme of the 2008 movie season. What is the right thing to do in this very grey world? Who is good and who is evil? Maybe the evil guy is actually good because they are getting rid of the world from bad people? In over two dozen films this theme has come up and the most obvious example of this is 'The Dark Knight'.

In Righteous Kill we are presented with two very interesting characters. Guys who will never retire because they both have nothing better to do than try to bring down bad guys. They both have a sense that they are perhaps a bit jaded by things and it's shown to us when they are both forced to go to therapy session because of a botched up take down. In many ways the actors playing the roles are in the same boat in real life with their own profession. It's a young man's game but their experience and intelligence alone can get them by. And their legacy is intact so they are allowed to take a lot of chances.

There is a twist that we must figure out and it keeps us engaged throughout because it's an interesting twist. Five characters are presented to us and one of these characters is the serial killer. Who is it? That's what keeps us watching.

I don't think Jon Avnet is the greatest director in the world, but he does a nice job piecing this character study/thriller together. Especially coming from his almost unwatchable previous film 88 Minutes where he did nothing right. Working with DeNiro and Pacino is a tough bag. He must rid them of their real life status and present to us the audience the roles that they are playing in Righteous Kill. This is easier said than done, but he pulls it off. We believe that these old pals are borderline blue color burnout cops and we are ready to follow them for 2 hours.

What holds this film together throughout is another ongoing theme in art these days: hero worship. We see one character look up to another in the beginning of the film and he/she is shocked when they cheat the system in order to put a bad guy behind bars. This changes the outlook for that character forever and he's left without someone to look up to. A figure they need desperately in their life.

In the end, I do recommend this film. With a larger budget and more epic take on this story and theme, I feel this could of had the makings of a classic film. But they pull off what they wanted and gave us an entertaining thriller. Al Pacino does seem to be playing the same character over and over again for the last few years though. He's always mixed up in these flawed but successful older man roles with a twist ending (88 Minutes, Ocean's Thirteen, Two For the Money, The Recruit, Insomnia). Time for him to perhaps go the DeNiro route and make a comedy or two and stretch his acting muscles a bit. This is the last time I want to see him play a cop too. How many films has it been where he's been a police officer? Time to hang up the badge forever Pacino!

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