Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman) is a police detective and a forensic psychologist. He receives word about a mysterious person who is kidnapping and murdering several women. Alex becomes even more invested in the case once he discovers that one of the victims is his niece. Heading to North Carolina, he offers his skills and services to a group of fellow detectives who are currently on the case. Alex is briefed on the information about the killer. Some of the details include that fact the killer calls himself “Casanova” and enjoys targeting strong women which the killer sees as a type of challenge for himself. Thankfully one woman by the name of Kate McTernan (Ashley Judd) manages to escape the killer’s underground prison and is discovered by police. Alex will now work closely with Kate, hoping she can provide more information about who the killer is. He also hopes she will help him discover if his niece is still alive and more importantly, help track down who the killer is.
If you’re not aware, Alex Cross is a character based on a series of novels. Personally, I have never read any of these novels, but I do recall seeing this film on VHS when it was first released in my local video store. After my recent re-watch, there are many elements that still hold up in the present day. Firstly, I love Morgan Freeman as the leading character. Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross is most certainly one of my favorite elements of this film. Whenever he appears, he brings such a strength to the screen. Upon my first watch, I felt the film was also quite unpredictable for its time. But watching the movie for the first time today, I would understand if a movie lover were to find this film slightly predictable.
The film’s opening act is terrific. As an audience we gain a great understanding of Alex Cross as a character. Nearly immediately, we see him in action, negotiating with a woman who has just murdered her own husband. We learn that Alex is quite smart and skilled at his job. The film also sets up great mysteries, including the kidnapper.
I also love the film’s dark tones. This film is filled with many uncomfortable moments, and at times this film can feel somewhat gritty. During my recent re-watch, I was also quite impressed with the eerie movie soundtrack. The soundtrack matched the tone of the film perfectly and naturally put a smile on my face.
I enjoyed the film’s opening act and third act. The second act, however, does feel significantly slower as Alex Cross begins to team up with the recently escaped victim, Kate (Ashley Judd). While these moments are still generally positive, the film’s pace and suspense slows right down for me. Performances and the chemistry between the two leads are always complimentary.
Overall, Kiss The Girls is an excellent thriller from the late nineties. While I’ve never read any of the novels about Alex Cross, Morgan Freeman is fantastic in this role, and I found this film pretty enjoyable. Upon first watch I found the film’s twist and reveals quite surprising. The film’s audio track, including the soundtrack, is a solid match the film’s dark tones and suspenseful atmosphere. If you’ve never seen this thriller, it certainly comes recommended. As a fun fact, the film also has a sequel entitled Along Came A Spider (2001) which also receives a positive thumbs up from me.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden