FBI Agent Kevin Cole (Cole Hauser), whose father (James Cromwell) is the Director of the FBI, assumes the undercover identity of Jimmy Vaughn and tries to penetrate the worlds most powerful crime syndicate, an operation run by the infamous master of disguise and never seen Ziggy. In pursuit of meeting the boss face to face, he is given the task of torturing Ziggy's accountant, Archie Green (Laurence Fishburne). As Kevin tortures Green, his personal moral descent begins to blur the line between his father's FBI and Ziggy's world of crime.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A terrific cast delivering top performances, great production values and a suitably dense score make Tortured a visually stimulating exercise, but the writing tries so hard to make a mysterious web of deceit that it ends up tying itself in knots - to its detriment. But at least it isn't torture porn.
Cole Hauser, who usually plays unpleasant characters, has the job of playing an FBI agent, Kevin Cole (hmmm) who goes underground as Jimmy Vaughn and sets about torturing Archie Green - played by Laurence Fishburne, who is not used to squirming in pain. The pretty Emmanuelle Chriqui plays Becky, Cole's girlfriend, who gets mighty sick of all the silent/secret treatment from her guy, but this subplot serves only to provide a couple of raunchy scenes. Becky's home wardrobe is scant. Chriqui shows her acting chops in a demanding, thankless role, but becomes collateral damage in the plot.
The best scenes, strangely enough, are those in the crim gang's kitchen, where three thugs of various descriptions play cards day in, day out, in total dread of their boss, the unseen Ziggy - the Mr Big who has been out of sight since ... but let's not spoil things. Agent Cole, in his Jimmy Vaughn persona, comes and goes into this kitchen for occasional banter. It's colourful, edgy stuff, and shows that the writer has talent - but perhaps needs a little help from a script development editor to get his story zinging.
The basic set-up of why all this is happening is a trifle simplistic, but the film gets away with it, until the final sequence where the bits unravel, despite a promising twist.
Published March 26, 2009
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TORTURED: DVD (MA)
CAST: Cole Hauser, James Cromwell, Laurence Fishburne, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jon Cryer, James Denton, Robert LaSardo, Kevin Pollak
PRODUCER: Adam M. Lebovitz, Kirk
DIRECTOR: Nolan H. Lebovitz
SCRIPT: Nolan H. Lebovitz
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Steven Bernstein
EDITOR: Robert K. Lambert
MUSIC: Nathan Barr
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stephen Geaghan
RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD
SPECIAL FEATURES: none
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: All Interactive
DVD RELEASE: March 13, 2009
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.