Very clever and highly suspenseful!
Rizzo | Denver, CO | 12/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Killing Words is an exceptionally well-done killer suspense that continuously leaves the viewer waiting and wondering while twists and turns cleverly unfold. One is left unsure of the killer's motives, manners, and whether or how much can the viewer believe him...Did he really commit horrific crimes that he said he did? Would he really pluck the eyes of his captive victim with a spoon? Were his mother's and ex-wife's accusations against him true?
The movie weaves intricately to the past and present during the killer's interrogation with detectives about the disappearance of his ex-wife. We soon learn the psychiatrist is his ex-wife and the two endured an ugly divorce.
A seemingly normal teacher with a dark underside kidnaps a young psychiatrist, ties her to a chair in his unique basement and taunts and threatens to kill her. He is bent on playing a chain word game with her and the consequences can be fatal for her if she loses.
Casting of Dario Grandinetti (Ramon) was excellent; he was so convincing as the evil and demented man. He so looked the part that was without much effort. What is ironic is that Grandinetti, (Ramon) has been in Almodovar's "Talk to Her" as Marco, a gentle caring man who looked the role.
The 2003 Spanish film, although very suspenseful doesn't rely on extreme violence or gore, the core is in the ability to keep the viewer in sheer suspense. It works.......Rizzo
Move over Hitchcock
Penumbra | Atlanta, GA USA | 04/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Five stars to this brilliant Spanish suspense film! Things are not always what they seem as the story unfolds and numerous motivations and twists are revealed.
On the surface, Ramon is a normal guy. He teaches philosophy at the University by day and cares for his aging mother by night. But he has also been nurturing a bitter hatred for his ex-wife, Laura. She lied during their divorce trial, convincing the judge that Ramon was abusive and sexually deviant. Now he wants revenge.
Ramon kidnaps Laura and hides her in his basement. He has worked out an elaborate scheme to convince Laura that her lies have broken him, that he has become psychotic. Does he just want to make her confess that she lied about him, or are his plans more deadly?
Laura is a psychiatrist. Ramon challenges her to "cure" him. He demands their therapy session include a children's word game If she wins, she goes free. If she loses, he can do as he pleases with her. Between rounds of the game, he shows her a series of home videos he has made describing murders he may have committed. In the tapes he explains that each victim is practice for his ultimate prey...Laura. Has he really committed these crimes? Does he want her dead? Or is his goal to make up for his years of anguish by giving her a good dose of psychological torture in return?
The story is told in a series of flashbacks. We see Ramon making his tapes. We see the interaction between Ramon and Laura in the basement. We see the police questioning Ramon as the prime suspect in Laura's disappearance.
The acting is brilliant. Dario Grandinetta is both chilling and pathetic as the man who doesn't understand what happened to his marriage. Goya Toledo does an excellent job of alternately displaying terror and contempt for her ex-husband. Fernando Guillen is the Comisario trying to figure out what exactly happened.
The movie is stylish and absorbing. This is a story that will keep you guessing until the end."
Not Quite Hitchcock, but very intriguing plot twists
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 02/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"`killing words', a film in Spanish, directed by Laura Mana, is a psychological mystery with perhaps just a few pretensions to emulate the mystery thrillers of the great Alfred Hitchcock.
The film begins giving the impression that our main character is a serial killer whose last victim was an unknown elderly woman, a recent victim was flayed before being murdered, and that the current victim is a young woman with whom the perp is toying with tales of earlier kills and current terrors.
The plot is enriched when we discover that the male perp is a highly respected professor of Aesthetics, highlighted when the police chief inspector confuses this discipline with the sister philosophic study of Ethics, a different subject altogether, and certainly not likely to be the discipline of a true serial killer.
The police bring our seeming perp in for questioning, where we learn, on the side, that the Spanish legal system is as touchy as our own on the rights of the accused, so the police don't arrest our potential killer right off, but simply question him on the basis of a rather damning amount of circumstantial evidence.
The story gets even more interesting when we discover that the reason for the police interest is the disappearance of the perp's divorced wife, and the plot thickens when we learn that the most recent victim is none other than this wife, who obtained her divorce by, according to Senor perp, lying about an affair between the professor and one of his male students.
The title comes from the word game where one player starts out with a word and their opponent must came a word which begins with the same syllable as the ending of the previous word. The rationale for the game is pretty vague, and why it deserves to give its name to the whole film is not convincing, except that the playing out of the game occupies most of the middle of the film.
This may be something of a subtle point, but I'm pleased with the fact that the perp is a professor of Aesthetics, the study of the meaning of beauty. The convoluted plot (I have not even come close to giving away the best part) certainly has the earmarks of someone who appreciates complicated and artistically composed stories, which serve as the smoke screen to the perp's real intentions and crimes.
This has no director's commentary, not even in Spanish, let alone in English, so one of my main interests for foreign DVDs is missing. The element of terror is small compared to even Hitchcock's masterpiece, `Psycho'. And, one misses the connections in the word game unless your ear for Spanish is much better than mine.
But, the twists and turns of the plot do hold a fair amount of interest, as soon as you realize that things are not at all as they seem.
Good for at least one spin on the old DVD!