(David Anspaugh, US, 1992)
The calm, middle-America town of Racine, Wisconsin is shattered by a sucession of bloody murders - multiple stabbings of pre-teen boys. The police are forced to suffer the worst frustrations as they know exactly who the killer is, but lack any connecting, concrete evidence. Gina Pulaski, a rookie policewoman agrees to go undercover to befriend the suspect, a super-intelligent but isolated young man. As she sinks deeper into her role, the dangerous cat and mouse game she atsrts to play begins to bring out the hidden, psychological torments in her own tragic childhood.
This intelligent thriller manages to turn the run-of-the-mill police investigation story into a clever and dramatic movie. Supposedly based upon real events, the matire and restrained direction gradually builds up the major characters into three dimensional people. No car chases, big shoot out or crazy cartoon killers, just good casting and acting. Helen Hunt plays rookie cop Gina Pulaski. She is perfectly cast - not to glamorous and with a steely demeanor appropriate for the undercover work Gina has to do. Hunt's performance is vital to make her troubled character believeable and she pulls it off admirably. She certainly derserves the success she's gained in subsequent years. Steven Weber (seen in Single White Female) is chilling as the slightly odd-looking and quiet killer. Jeff (Body Parts, The Lawnmower Man) Fahey lends support as a police sergeant whose marriage fails and finds himself attracted to Gina. Their relationship is another aspect of the film which is nicely played. If you like police/killer investigation thrillers of this type then I recommend this without reservation. There are hundreds of these films around but those as good as this are few and far between.