Magazine article Variety

Profile

Magazine article Variety

Profile

Article excerpt

Profile

PANORAMA SPECIAL

Say what you will about genre-hopping Kazakh export Timur Bekmambetov: His career keeps you guessing, even when his films don't. Rarely has a director's filmography threaded two films as improbably consecutive as 2016's misguided "Ben-Hur" remake and now "Profile," a fast, lurid online-terror thriller that you'd describe as a curio if its helmer weren't hell-bent on making the all-in-one-computer-screen movie a veritable subgenre.

Unlike the Bekmambetov- produced tension exercises "Unfriended" and "Search," however, "Profile" aims for ripped-fromthe- headlines social import, as it follows an intrepid but increasingly ill-advised London journalist in her quest to bait and expose an Isis recruiter through Skype and social media. Loosely drawn from the experiences of reporter Anna Erelle, this is engrossing but almost entirely specious affair: Any factual grounding gives way beneath the film as it devolves into shrill heartversus- head melodrama.

All the action, seemingly spanning a period of several weeks, plays out on the laptop of 30-something Amy Whittaker (Irish actress Valene Kane, giving it her all), a struggling freelance journo pitching a potentially career-making story to hard-nosed TV news editor Vick (Christine Adams). With reports piling up of disaffected young European women being recruited into Isis via assorted online platforms, Amy resolves to create a new online identity as a naive Muslim convert, dangling herself on Facebook as jihadist bait, uncovering the terrorist organization's recruitment and enslavement tactics in the process. …

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