Plot: As the tensions between the public and the police force rise, one department has agreed to give reporter Christie Davies (Brittany Snow) full access so she can write an article on how the department functions. She has been assigned to follow Detective Ruiney (Karl Urban), a good cop, but he isn’t thrilled to have a press member hovering over his every move. As the two arrive on the scene of a brutal murder, Ruiney sees that the killer has carved his badge number close to the victim, as well as the badge number of a retired detective. Ruiney reaches out to the retired officer, Detective Archer (Al Pacino) and while he is just consulting on the case, he joins the investigation and the trio is pulled into a series of horrific, inexplicable murders. As things spiral into an abyss of darkness, can these three somehow crack this surreal case or will they wind up as victims in the killer’s sadistic game?
Entertainment Value: Hangman is so bizarre and over the top, I don’t know whether it is a terrible movie or a camp classic. The narrative wants to be a dark, twisted thriller like Seven, but it makes little sense and just seems to throw in twists and turns just to keep things unstable. I mean, at a certain point the movie feels like a parody of the genre, as it reaches overkill on the conventions and tropes of crime thrillers, but the serious tone makes me think this was a sincere effort. At least sincere from some involved, as Al Pacino leaves his sincerity at the door and delivers an epic turn of laziness and barely awake performance. His accents shifts constantly and he seems to be openly mocking the entire movie, but I doubt that is the case, as that would take some effort. To say he sleepwalks through Hangman is too kind of a compliment, as he is more or less dragged, hardly conscious through his scenes. I loved his work here, as it is so ridiculous, but I am sure most will dislike it, because it is so hilariously terrible. Karl Urban and Brittany Snow are solid in their roles, but Pacino’s ludicrous work ethic casts a shadow that obscures the rest of the cast. I can’t recommend Hangman as a serious or effective thriller, but it is a fun trainwreck that unleashes Pacino at his worst on a script that is a total mess.
No nakedness. I can only imagine Pacino’s approach to a love scene here, lying seemingly dead while moaning in accents that change by the second, but sadly, this cinematic bliss was denied here. This is a serial killer thriller, so the crime scenes have some fun blood and such, but it is mostly aftermath stuff. Some bursts of more kinetic violence also happen, but it is quite minimal. The movie does throw in some fun chases and Pacino upset about his ride getting dinged, however. The dialogue here is terrible, as the writing is insanely basic and tries too hard to be dark, but Pacino pulls it from the fire and spins this shit into gold. His barely awake performance makes even mundane lines fun, as his accent flutters around and lands on various dialects. But when Pacino isn’t up to his wacky tricks, the writing falls flat and is quite forgettable. Pacino alone scores in this area, but he earns the movie a few points. As for craziness, the awful plot twists and massive gaps in logic earn points, but again Pacino is the MVP for Hangman and his bizarre performance dials up the madness. Aside from unintentional wackiness though, this one is overly serious and rather forgettable.
Overall Insanity: 5/10