Buckley Clarke (Lauren Holly) is a cop in San Francisco on the trail of a serial killer who has been murdering medical staff using loads of syringes. His latest victim is Samuel Brown’s sister. Samuel (Robert Patrick) is a tracker from Alaska; his job is to hunt people or creatures. Now he is coming to San Francisco to hunt his sister’s killer, but he will need Buckley’s help if he is going to get his man.
Serial killer movies have been done to death over the last few years (sorry no joke intended there). The more recent ones have taken their lead from the over the top theatrics of the latter Hannibal Lector movies. These films become less about catching the killer as about the scene steal pantomime posturing of the killers themselves. It is refreshing then to see a film that takes the serial killer movie back to its roots. This film is much more like first Lector movie Manhunter and any of the more recent films.
The big advantage the film has is the strong and unpredictable story. Like Manhunter it is based more on police procedure with the killer only making and appearance half way through the film. The twist in this fairly standard plot is to add the Alaskan tracker that allows for some interesting character interaction and plot progression. Also when the details of the killer become apparent they are refreshingly different (I won’t say anything more as it would ruin the film). It is a very strong story that maybe doesn’t end in the way you might of expected.
Playing the role of Samuel is Robert Patrick who is spot on for the role. He detached style which often doesn’t work is suited to this sort of isolated loner. On the other hand Lauren Holly seems to be a little miscast. She just can’t seem to master the realism required to play this sort of cop role, and she seems to lapse all to often into comedy with which seems far more at home. This isn’t too much of a problem as it is Robert Patrick’s character that is center stage and once the story throws them together it all works well enough.
Darrell Roodt seems to be a director with hiccups, as the camera flies around the screen with any number of quick edits a fault of many modern films. Here it sometimes works other times it doesn’t. Yet again I can’t help but think that a little less style and a little more skill would have been better. As it stands it gives the production a rather made of for television appearance (akin to NYPD Blue), which would probably have been more suited to the pilot episode of a series.
Pavement is an effective serial killer movie of the old school. You have seen it all before, but the well-written script has enough twists to keep interesting. Robert Patrick’s character adds a lot to the film and it is a very strong performance from him. If Lauren Holly and Darrell Roodt’s camerawork are a bit hit and miss then it’s not a fatal flaw. Overall this is a better than average and unusually restrained by modern standards for this type of film. There are better serial killer movies out there but this one is well worth a watch.
Ok so yet again another film has a lousy title. Pavement! I can only think the name Tracker had been already used.