28 August 2006 | rsoonsa
Much To Appreciate Here Although Plot Weaknesses Prove To be Overwhelming.
Designed for television, this work happily is free from most of the irritating evidence that signifies films made for that medium, while enjoying above standard production values, especially when considering a meagre budget, and a good deal of skill is displayed by cast and crew, with only a weakly composed screenplay serving to lessen a viewer's enjoyment. Kyle Robeshaw (Bruce Boxleitner) is a discontented investigator assigned to a dull assignment as member of the "Missing Persons Division" of a large metropolitan area police department when a young female officer, a lifelong friend of Robeshaw, is gunned down while making a routine traffic stop. Due to his despair over her death, and in the face of the expected and obligatory cinematic internecine conflict between Robeshaw and his department supervisors he, in renegade fashion, assumes the task of locating the woman's killer. Despite being ordered by his supervisor to restrict his police function to searching for missing persons, Kyle learns that there may be a junction between the policewoman's slaying and a missing woman file involving one Ellen Greene, and while attempting to unearth clues concerning Greene's disappearance, he meets a close friend of hers, Elizabeth (Laura Johnson), a purported psychic whose mystical insights Robeshaw is determined to utilize during his self-appointed mission to solve both cases in concert. Robeshaw has also cajoled his detective partner from his Division to accompany him as he grows closer to a solution and a probable dangerous showdown with a suspect whom a viewer has learned is a serial killer, a grotesquely unbalanced individual who surgically removes the faces of his victims and preserves them within solution-filled glass jars. Director Gary Sherman ably injects interesting detail into the action, but the script is simply too often absurd, including its off-center depiction of law enforcement investigative procedures, and unanswered questions that devolve from within the storyline, in addition to quality flaws, e.g., a nictitating corpse. Nevertheless, Sherman exercises pacing that is appropriate for creation of suspense, assisted to no small extent by the editing of Ross Albert, while the cinematography of Alex Nepomniaschy is originative throughout, and there is top-flight descriptive scoring from Joseph Renzetti. The cast generally performs well under the director's sure hand, and if supplied with a stronger screenplay, this might very well have been developed into a sterling production.