Inspired by true events, ‘Texas Killing Fields’ brings it back to basics to produce a film that leaves audiences feeling tense and uneasy. Raw, realistic and visceral, it tells the story of devout Christian Detective Brian Heigh (Jeffrey Dean-Morgan) recently relocated from New York City to a small town in Texas, and his hot-headed partner Detective Mark Souter (Sam Worthington) whilst they investigate the murder of a teenage prostitute. Before long, it becomes apparent that theirs is not the only killing to have occurred recently in nearby areas and Detective Heigh cannot help himself being drawn to the murders being committed outside of their immediate jurisdiction. As the detectives get closer to the murderer, the killer kidnaps local girl Anne which leads them to a race against time to find her before she becomes his next victim.
As well as exploring the stress of a career in law enforcement in a small American town, it also touches on the idea of being stuck in such a place and the tempestuous lives the characters are internally dealing with. Souter demonstrates a strained working relationship with ex-wife Pam (Jessica Chastain), a fellow cop, working on the same murders. Meanwhile Heigh appears to have trouble adjusting to living in such an unruly, Godless town. The central characters lives seem to be as murky as the waters the killer leaves his prey’s bodies in. It is very hard to empathise with any of the characters however, as screen time is spread so vastly between the leads that audiences do not have a chance to get a real taste of who the individuals are. Stories of their pasts and character developments are almost completely side-swiped and background families do not even get the privilege of names.
‘Texas Killing Fields’ shares a similar edgy style to the 2007 film ‘Zodiac’, but without the slick plot and unexpected twists and turns. Despite the storyline being rather lacklustre, it has the premise to be brilliant, with ‘Avatar’ star Worthington and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’s’ Morgan at the helm, and the acting support of “one-to-watch” Chloë Grace Moretz. The screenplay and action, even though it’s a “cop movie” is relatively slow and the director Ami Canaan Mann unfortunately does not seem to let her dream-team show off their obvious talent, as the movie is evidently more concerned with being true to the facts rather than being a cinematic masterpiece.
If fantastic acting is your thing, and you’re not concerned with elaborate, abhorrently fictitious scripts then ‘Texas Killing Fields’ is enjoyable, but if you’re looking for explosions and shoot-outs every 5 minutes then maybe wait until the next Jason Statham film comes out.