Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Profile Review: An Interesting Screenlife Film That Starts With A Bang

Valene Kane	...	Amy Shazad Latif	Shazad Latif	...	Abu Bilel Al-Britani Christine Adams	Christine Adams	...	Vick Amir Rahimzadeh	Amir Rahimzadeh	...	Lou Karim Morgan Watkins	Morgan Watkins	...	Matt Emma Cater	Emma Cater	...	Kathy

Release date: May 14, 2021
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov
Written by Timur Bekmambetov, Britt Poulton and Olga Kharina
Starring Valene Kane and Shazad Latif

PROFILE follows an undercover British journalist in her quest to bait and expose a terrorist recruiter through social media, while trying not to be sucked in by her recruiter and lured into becoming a militant extremist herself. The unconventional thriller plays out entirely on a computer screen in the Screenlife format.  PROFILE is inspired by the 2015 nonfiction bestseller "In The Skin of a Jihadist" by a French journalist who now has round-the-clock police protection and has changed her name to Anna Erelle. 

Hollie Burgess		 Marie Hamilton	Marie Hamilton	...	Waitress Irina Klimovich	Irina Klimovich	...	Journalist Kelley Mack	Kelley Mack	...	Converted Female Louis Martin	Louis Martin	...	Bouncer Eloise Thomas	Eloise Thomas	...	Taylor (credit only) Kate Watson	Kate Watson	...	YouTube Star Therica Wilson-Read	Therica Wilson-Read	...	Stella
Profile plays out similar to the 2018 film Searching, with all the activity taking place on the computer.  Emails and messages are sent, skype calls happen, and our protagonist learns more and more about this world.  The film starts off with a hectic opening as we learn about Amy and her alter ego that she uses to communicate with the recruiter.  It is a lot to take in at the start but it also helps to show how over her head she is.  And the beauty of this format is that it lets you get in Amy's head without needing to have extra exposition.  The viewer is exposed to the texts, Amy's background programs information, and even her personal notes that she takes during the conversations.  Due to the nature of the screenlife format, we mainly see the main stars during this film.  And thankfully both Kane and Latif are able to convey a lot with their performances.  You get to see them confident, stressed, and in various locales as the story progresses.  It helps to transport you during this film and lets you really dive into these characters.

However, although Profile starts with a hectic, high energy start, the film then slows down as the relationship is developed.  It makes sense but it can lead to a film that starts off with a bang but then simmers very early on.  Additionally, the characters do seem to have some extreme changes with relatively little build up.  And a film about all conversation can begin to feel much less exciting in these instances.  Profile has some really good effects to go along with the Screenlife format.  There are lag effects that occur to show a poor connection, and other movie magic tricks to blend all the data into one seamless story.  And the interesting thing about this film is that because you get to see their conversation and their video chats, you get to connect to them on a personal level.  Something about seeing a conversation face to face causes you to feel like you know these people.  Although the characters are from very different worlds, it is nice to see them connect at times over common interests. 

Profile is an intriguing film with a novel setup, some great performances, and a modern, internet focused storytelling style.

Rent it.

Directed by  Timur Bekmambetov	Writing Credits   Britt Poulton	...	(as Brittany Poulton) and Olga Kharina	 Timur Bekmambetov	   Anna √Črelle	...	(based on the novel "In the skin of a Jihadist")
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Profile is in theaters on May 14, 2021. For tickets, click here.

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