Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ticking Clock (2011)

Second chances

Lewis Hicks (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is a boozing reporter who took for granted his ex spouse as well as his son who he misses weekend visits with because he's always onto the next biggest scoop. If his personal relationships could hit rock bottom any further, his current girlfriend ends up dead at the hands of a serial killer. Hicks shows up at her place after the fact but chases down the culprit and gets knocked out in an alleyway. He finds a diary with names and dates for more killings to come. The lead detective investigating the case has something against him from a slate in a past story and won't listen to what he's telling him. Now Hicks feels it's his obligation to take on the investigation himself for redemption in his own life. The victims all have in common a troubled little boy at an orphanage who had more things happen to him at an early age than most can call claim to. Hicks starts to get too close and as a result the evidence starts to point to him instead of the real killer who always slips in and out without anyone else seeing. From then on out it turns into a cat and mouse game of good vs evil before more victims' lives are claimed.

The "big" twist in "Ticking Clock" is more related to science fiction than an action or thriller, and causes you to suspend your disbelief and except the facts at face value. This direct-to-video feature comes across like a scraped episode for "Millennium," with a similar, strange tone of drama and horror, where everything is baked in shadows, panned to get atmosphere, time stamped and generates tragic piano pieces to build mood. Though a share of the dialogue doesn't feel practiced, the suspense feels like false theatrics and the "acting" feels done on the first or second take, not to mention it has sentiment slipped in and can feel melodramatic without chemistry of the cast to back that up. This also attempts to be snide and sarcastic but the interaction between the actors can feel just as forced at times. The most important aspects this picture asks are: Is someone really able to get a second chance out of life? Is it possible to correct mistakes in the past? Is one able to put right what went wrong? Though, correcting one thing can cause another to have to be adjusted and so on until things are a mess all over again. Though answering those questions can be done without having to jump through hoops to get there by watching a film that feels quickly put together. Here's another question: If the filmmakers don't have both their feet in this, then how can they expect the viewer to?

Rating: 4/10

From Black to Red recommends instead: "The Chaser." This Korean thriller comes with credible performances when a pimp has to search out someone killing his call girls.

Director: Ernie Barbarash (Cube Zero, Stir of Echoes: The Homecoming, They Wait)
Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Neal McDonough
Link: IMDB

Notable gore scene:

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