The Gustavian Weekly

Oh, how the righteous have fallen | The Gustavian Weekly

By Ryan McGinty Staff Writer | December 12, 2008 | Features

Al Pacino did it. There. I  saved you from wasting an hour-and-a-half of your life on Righteous Kill, the worst movie of the year. You’re welcome.

Righteous Kill comes from director John Avnet, the man responsible for perhaps the worst movie of last year, 88 Minutes. Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting much from his newest venture. Despite my low expectations, I tried to go into this movie with an open mind. It didn’t help.

The movie stars Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino as two gray-haired New York City police officers trying to solve the case of a serial murderer known as the “poetry killer,” named for his practice of leaving poems on the bodies of his victims.

The story is told in a series of flashbacks. DeNiro’s character confesses to being the poetry killer in the present, but, of course, it isn’t as simple as that. The ending presents a plot twist so predictable I myself am embarrassed for screenwriter Russell Gewirtz (surprisingly, the writer of the excellent Inside Man). At one point near the beginning of the movie, Al Pacino literally says, “I am the killer,” and the audience is still expected to wonder who the culprit is. I have little to no respect for filmmakers who treat their audience as complete idiots.

Righteous Kill is essentially an amateur cop thriller with two legendary actors in the lead roles. It might have held some water if DeNiro/Pacino had delivered performances worthy of their own names. Unfortunately, they ended up playing caricatures of their former selves. It’s heartbreaking to see two of the most incredible actors of their time fall this far.

I have trouble finding anything praiseworthy to say about this movie, other than the fact that it stars two actors who are responsible for some of the greatest movies of all time (i.e. The Godfather, Taxi Driver, etc.). The plot is disjointed and ultimately pointless; nearly everything that happens is a cliché, and the acting is shoddy at best.

Here’s the best piece of advice I can give you: do not go see this movie. Do not waste your time. You’d be better off sitting in your dorm room doing absolutely nothing. Instead, watch The Godfather: Part II and see both DeNiro and Pacino in two of the best performances ever captured on film. Remember a better time, and forget Righteous Kill.

I give the movie 1/3 stars, but only out of respect for the work DeNiro and Pacino have done in the past.