Texas Killing Fields

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Texas Killing Fields
Texas Killing Fields.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ami Canaan Mann
Produced by Michael Jaffe
Michael Mann
Written by Don Ferrarone
Starring Sam Worthington
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Jessica Chastain
Chloë Grace Moretz
Music by Dickon Hinchliffe
Cinematography Stuart Dryburgh
Edited by Cindy Mollo
Production
company
Forward Pass
Gideon Productions
Infinity Media
QED International
Watley Entertainment
Distributed by Anchor Bay Films
Release dates
  • October 14, 2011 (2011-10-14)
Running time
115 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $957,240[1]

Texas Killing Fields (also known as The Fields) is a 2011 American crime film directed by Ami Canaan Mann, starring Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jessica Chastain and Chloë Grace Moretz. It competed in the 68th Venice International Film Festival in September.[2]

Several killings occur along Houston's I-45 corridor between Houston and Galveston, in and around an area known as "the killing fields". The film's screenplay was loosely inspired by true events surrounding the murders of women kidnapped from cities spread along 30 plus miles of I-45 corridor and dumped in many areas to include numerous bayous surrounding the oil fields of Texas City, Texas. While in real life there have been numerous itinerant serial killers involved over the years, the film focuses on specific local Texas City suspects.

Plot[edit]

Homicide detectives Mike (Sam Worthington) and Brian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) investigate the murder of a girl and the disappearance of a young woman. Meanwhile, Ann (Chloë Grace Moretz), a neglected local girl whose mother Lucie (Sheryl Lee) is a drug addict, goes missing.

The film opens with Detectives Mike and Brian arriving at the scene of a homicide. The body is that of a young woman who was beaten and strangled, who had been there for less than two hours due to no rigor mortis.

After leaving the scene they see Ann walking alone in the rain. They call her over and give her a ride home. They ask why she's out since she's supposed to be at home and she tells them her mother wouldn't let her come home yet due to having her boyfriend over. When they take Ann home they talk to her mom, Lucie, asking why Ann was out when she wasn't supposed to. Lucie explains that Ann didn't come home from school. Mike, looking upset, barges into the house and kicks all the men out of the house before letting Ann in. One of the guys, Rhino, mouths off to Mike, Mike tells him to leave but the guy refuses. After some threats all but Rhino leaves and Ann goes in her house.

The detectives get a call from a fellow detective named Pam Stall (Jessica Chastain) about a young woman who has been missing for 26 hours named Kirsten, asking for help since there are no leads. It is then revealed that Pam is Mike's ex wife. Brian says he can't help her because it's not his jurisdiction. Pam insists on his help because they had just found her car in the fields. He tells her if she finds a body to call him.

Detectives Souder and Heigh drive up to a house with a group of people playing dominoes to ask if they knew the murder victim. A woman named Sheila tells Brian that she had been to the house before. Sheila tells him she was a 14-year-old crack addict from Dallas or somewhere they called 'Little Debbie'.

We see Ann walking out of school and walking home along a highway. A man in a car offers a ride but she flips him off.

Detective Stall gets to her office and she questions a man about the missing girl. Detective Souder shows up to offer his help.

We see Ann playing jump rope with girls from a group home and then Detective Heigh and Souder arrive. They are there to ask 2 girls, Imani and Marie, about the murder victim and they tell him her name was Debbie Mills. They show her ID to confirm it's her. They tell the detectives about 2 men, Levon Chalmers and a white guy, that had dragged her out of bed and attacked her. They bring Levon Chalmers in for questioning. Souder gets angry that Chalmers is a pimp and showed no remorse for pimping out Debbie. Detective Heigh asks about the white guy and what his name is, which Chalmers says his name is Rule Valley, and then Chalmers leaves.

A young woman who is yet to be identified is hanging laundry on a clothesline with her daughter sitting below her playing with toys. She hears rustling but shrugs it off. She is later in bed and hears a noise and checks on her daughter. When the noises continue she goes to investigate and is attacked by a masked assailant, dragged into her bathroom, and is almost strangled with her shower curtain. A knock on the door scares the assailant away and she calls the police through 9-1-1. The assailant comes back and he tries to strangle her again before hearing the sirens and running away again. Detectives Mike and Brian are at the scene and looking for the assailant when Brian spots him and chases him. The suspect hits him with a shovel and gets away. The woman goes to the station to talk to Detectives Souder and Heigh about the attack. She says there were 2 suspects and accuses them of not doing enough to catch the guy.

The next day detective Heigh is on the phone asking a guy named Jim about tracing a call the assailant made to detective Souder. The only information he can give is that the call was made outside of Texas City, the Killing Fields.

Ann is brushing her hair while her mom and a man are in the kitchen. She comes in the bathroom and smacks Ann in the face and kicks her out of the house while the man is there. Rhino is seen outside asking her what's wrong as she leaves. When she just walks away he grabs a pipe and heads towards the house. Ann is then purchasing milk of magnesia and a flower and is being watched by the tattooed man she flippped off earlier in the film. Ann is brought to Brian's house and she gives his wife the flower she bought, then has dinner with his family.

Heigh meets with Stall to examine the body of another woman who was murdered. They pull her out of the water with the help of Souder, who she's not happy to see. Souder gets mad at Heigh for helping Stall.

The next day Souder is following Rule Valley. Ann is riding in a truck with her brother Eugene and Rhino. The two men start fighting, Ann jumps out of the truck, and they leave her there to walk alone. Souder shows up at the house from earlier asking about the white guy and why he parked his car in her garage. He looks in the car and finds blood in the backseat.

Heigh speaks with Jim and he tells Heigh that the assailant is the same man who called his office. Ann is caught trying to sell a driver's license and Detective Heigh drives her home. They stop at a gas station and Brian gives her money to go in the store while he's on the phone. While she's looking through the aisle she is abducted. The clerk saw nothing and Heigh cannot find her anywhere.

He takes a map of the fields and starts hiking through the fields. He finds a dirty article of clothing, thinking it's Ann's. Souder is still following Rule and is watching the house where the car was kept. He sees the woman who lives there pouring gasoline and setting the car on fire, catching herself on fire in the process. Rule and Chalmers drive up and sees what happened and drive away. Souder pursues, Rule starts shooting at officers who are also following him. Rule ends up shooting and killing an officer before getting away.

Rule and Chalmers park the car and start arguing when Chalmers puts a gun to Rule's head, but doesn't shoot. Rule shoots Chalmers in the head and walks away from the car.

Souder meets Heigh at the fields and they go searching for Ann, fearing the worst. Souder finds Ann, tied up and still alive but unconscious. Heigh goes back into the field, thinking the suspect is coming back for Ann, while Souder takes Ann to the hospital.

Heigh is waiting and sees a man coming back to where Ann was found. A fight ensues and Heigh is shot by the second assailant. The assailants are revealed to be Ann's brother Eugene and Rhino. The two then call Souder saying, 'He's dead', before hanging up. Souder gets a call on Brian's cell from Jim and he tells Souter where the call came from and that it came from a prior victim's cell phone.

Souder goes to Ann's house, realizing the call came from there. He calls Jim and gets the phone number that called him. Eugene answers but Mike hangs up. Mike calls again but Rhino answers, Souder asks for Lucie and he hangs up. Souder approaches the house with an assault rifle and calls again, this time Lucie answers. Souder tells Lucy, "Ask them what they did to your daughter.' Lucie is told that Ann is dead and Lucie becomes very upset. Eugene claims that Rhino did all the killing. Lucie grabs a knife and cuts Rhino, then Eugene shoots him. Rhino retaliates and shoots and kills Eugene. Lucie manages to sink the knife into Rhino's chest before he shoots and kills her as well. He stumbles out of the house and slumps on the porch, where he's approached by Souder. Souder sees the bodies inside and takes his gun away. Souder points the rifle, contemplating shooting him, but doesn't shoot since he's dying anyway.

Stall finds Heigh, who is barely alive. The film then cuts to several months later.

Souder going up to Ann's house while Ann is in the car. Souder enters the house and grabs a few things for her. Souder takes her to a house and Brian Heigh walks out. He survived and Ann is going to live with him.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was originally going to be directed by Danny Boyle before he left the project and was replaced by Ami Canaan Mann, daughter of director Michael Mann, who produced the film. Boyle said that the film was "so dark it would never get made".[3]

The film was distributed overseas by Entertainment Film Distributors, a British company.[4][5][6] Filming began on May 3, 2010,[4] in Louisiana, United States.[5]

Soundtrack[edit]

The soundtrack was scored by Dickon Hinchliffe (formerly of Tindersticks) except for three tracks credited to The Americans.[7]

Reception[edit]

Texas Killing Fields received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 33% based on 49 reviews, with a consensus that read, "Texas Killing Fields is a competent boilerplate crime thriller, brewing up characters and plots used in better films."[8] Metacritic gave the film a rating of 49/100, based on 17 reviews.[9]

Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun Times gave the film two out of four stars and said, "'Texas Killing Fields' begins along the lines of a police procedural and might have been perfectly absorbing if it had played by the rules: strict logic, attention to detail, reference to technical police work. Unfortunately, the movie often seems to stray from such discipline."[10] Betsy Sharkey at The Los Angeles Times commented, "...like the Texas City killer's plans, something's gone terribly wrong."[11] On a more lenient note, James Mottram of GamesRadar said, "Mann Jr. shows plenty of promise in a film that doesn’t tarnish the family name. But hindered by niggling flaws, it hardly revolutionises an over-saturated genre."[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Texas Killing Fields". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Venezia 68: International competition of feature films". Venice. Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  3. ^ "Sam Worthington Confirmed as Lead of The Fields, Formerly Called The Texas Killing Fields | /Film". Slashfilm.com. 2010-02-08. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  4. ^ a b "Box office / business for Texas Killing Fields (2011)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  5. ^ a b "Texas Killing Fields (2011) : Filming Locations". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "‘Texas Killing Fields’ Soundtrack Released". Film Music Reporter. 2012-04-06. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  8. ^ "Texas Killing Fields". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Texas Killing Fields Review". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 19, 2011). "Texas Killing Fields". Roger Ebert. 
  11. ^ Sharkey, Betsy (October 14, 2011). "Movie review: 'Texas Killing Fields'". Los Angeles Times. 
  12. ^ Mottram, James (October 26, 2011). "Texas Killing Fields review". GamesRadar. 

External links[edit]