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Festivale online magazine, Summer 1997
Kiss the Girls movie review
Kiss the Girls

They say there's a thin line between love and hate. Nah. Kiss the Girls is about something you can see all over the net -- the absence of a line between sex and hatred, between desire and violence.

The killer, a man who collects women -- and hates them sexually -- asks: have you ever seen a woman and thought "I gotta have that. I gotta break her down."

This film is a mixture of female potency and the brutal attempts to bring it down. It is well-paced, literate, lucid, expertly photographed, and acted with conviction. It is about love -- that four-letter word that people slap on all sorts of emotions to justify the emotions and themselves.

Kiss the Girls, movie poster
Movie poster, Kiss the Girls, Festivale film review

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Love isn't an emotion -- it's a behaviour: a verb. Does he respect you? Does she?

The film begins with the classic cinematic demonstration of the detective's skill. In this case, forensic psychologist Cross (Morgan Freeman) is called to the scene of a murder and quickly uses his powers of observation to determine that a battered wife has been driven to violence. Remember this when you are about to dismiss Kiss the Girls as a film about serial killers.

Is it really about that pernicious ego-centred anger of men who believe that asking should equal getting? The killer asks Cross have you ever seen this baser animal in yourself. Does it drive men to kill? Yes. Does it drive them to hatred, and spite and snide misbehaviour, yes again.

They were in love with me -- they just didn't know it.

No means no. Not you. No. So walk away. Go on with your life. Stewing in your juices is small, and very unattractive.

These crimes are large and obvious and brutal. They grow out of a misuse of terms, terms which you'll find muddled together, juxtaposed in poorly-spelled and unrealistic tales of alleged personal history.

The best words can be used to describe the doctor, Kate McTiernan, who escapes and comes back to rescue her sister captives (Ashley Judd), and Cross the police pursuer: Self-confidence
Mutual respect
Hard work

They show the honour in self-control and ethics, the killer demonstrates the vanity of trying to control others.

I was especially impressed by the camera work, it was appropriate, unobtrusive, and scrupulously in focus. I hate gratuitous focus-pulling and a clean, crisp image lets the story come through, which is the whole point.

Definitely recommended.
by Ali Kayn

Kiss the Girls was the most entertaining film of 1997 in my opinion. The high quality of acting and drama was complete. The way that the killer was portrayed was excellent. Morgan Freeman was spectacular as Dr. Cross. He fits his characters perfectly in everything he plays. This film deserves 5 stars. -- Josh Topp
I thought the movie was very disturbing, but provoked thought. it was the kind of movie all you can say is "whoa" about and then not talk for about ten minutes! very suspenseful. Debbie

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Just the facts:

Title: Kiss the Girls
Written by: David Klass, James Patterson
Directed by: Gary Fleder
Produced by: David Brown, C.O. Erickson, Joe Wizan, Steve Wizan
Edited by Harvey Rosenstock; William Steinkamp
Director of Photography: Aaron Schneider

The Players: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Cary Elwes, Tony Goldwyn, Jay O. Sanders, Bill Nunn

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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Filed: 26-Nov-1997 : Last updated: 1-May-2005 : Last tested: 3-Jul-2014: Last Compiled: 3-Jul-2014
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