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Hangman: Old or Overdone?

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  • Al PacinoBrittany Snow...
  • Action & Adventure
  • Johnny Martin
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Cairo 360
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Hangman: Old or Overdone?

Can an old and overused plot line still entertain an audience? Does old age affect an actor’s decision and performance? We were expecting quite a lot from Hangman, especially since it starred Al Pacino, but we have to say we were quite disappointed. 

Hangman is about two detectives and a journalist trying to find a brilliant serial killer. Detective Ruiney (Karl Urban) is haunted by the violent and recent death of his wife; Detective Archer (Al Pacino) came back from retirement, upon learning that he was somehow associated with this serial killer case; and Journalist Chrisie Davis (Brittany Snow) is traumatized by a violent attack that occurred in her past. The three characters attempt to stop and capture a serial killer who kills a victim every 24 hours, and is inspired by the game hangman. 

The plot is not anything new and seems all too familiar. The film even mimics very famous films in several aspects and entire scenes. The script was full of clichés and several permutations on cheesy and mainstream quotes.

This “same old, same old” bus does not stop there.

Al Pacino’s role in the film evokes a sort of nostalgic déjà vu, and not in a good way. This could partly be because Pacino has already starred in several cop roles, and partly because this particular plot line has been executed several times. What we were sure of, however, was the fact that Al Pacino’s performance -much like the entirety of the film- was a very familiar song and dance. Moreover, Pacino’s  unidentifiable accent, his restrained mannerism, and his body language, make for a disappointment to Al Pacino fans everywhere. 

Karl Urban did what he does best: he acted tough, perfected his action sequences, and played the part of a composed man. The character of detective Ruiney, however, did not require any of these things. Indeed, Ruiney is supposed to be a broken and haunted man who is deeply and continuously affected by the death of his wife, not some witty action hero who knows how to properly carry himself. 

Brittany Snow was plausible as a journalist, but not a renowned and award winning one, like her character. Instead, Snow’s performance was more aligned with that of a smart but inexperienced journalist. As per the fact that her character was haunted by a traumatic past, Snow delivered an average performance. 

On top of all this, many aspects of the film just didn’t seem to add up; for example, the fact that two cops easily accept a journalist who wants to interfere in their work, seems quite unrealistic. Moreover, the connection between the killer’s victims seems unexplored. Finally, although the film’s resolution involves a capturing of the killer, the killer’s motives are left unclear leaving the film without closure. 

Was the film enjoyable? Yes, it was. Will it be remembered? Most probably not; it will probably be filed away with all other mediocre movies, only to be remembered as one of the few (if not the only) films where Al Pacino disappointed.

Like This? Try

The Devil's Advocate (1997), Scarface (1983), Heat (1995), Seven (1995), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Psycho (1960), Monster (2003) 

360 Tip

The ninth time Al Pacino has played the role of a police detective after Righteous Kill (2008), The Son of No One (2011), Insomnia (2002), Heat (1995), Sea of Love (1989), 88 minutes (2007), Cruising (1980) and, of course, Serpico (1973).

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