Soho Square movie review, Jamie Rafn, Anthony Biggs, Lucy Davenport, Amanda Haberland. Review by Rob Blackwelder ©SPLICEDwire
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"Soho Square"
3 stars
90 minutes | Rated: R
ON DVD: Tuesday, February 8, 2005
Directed by Jamie Rafn, Anthony Biggs, Lucy Davenport, Amanda Haberland

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Provocative, low-budget serial killer thriller 'Soho' is more about psyche than mystery

By Rob Blackwelder

Inspired by the grit of classic film noir detective stories and the digital-video intimacy of the Danish Dogme95 movement, "Soho Square" is an intriguingly non-linear murder mystery that is more about its young, handsome but thoroughly haunted inspector than it is about his case.

Newcomer Anthony Biggs plays a London homicide cop hunting a serial killer who sets his young female victims ablaze and likes to watch them burn. The most recently discovered body throws him and his partner for a loop because it doesn't fit their suspect's pattern, but Biggs has other things on his mind -- namely the death of his beautiful, pregnant wife some time ago, which left his soul in shards and turned him into a whole different kind of chain-smoking, hard-drinking movie cop (one who is clinically depressed).

Through lucid but effectively disorienting editing, writer-director Jamie Rafn follows Bigg's psyche as the investigation unfolds, integrating memories of his wife (unsettling because we don't yet know how she died) and complications involving a barmaid who reminds him of his beloved, and a neighbor with a little daughter, both of whom have caregiver crushes on the downtrodden detective.

"Soho Square" brings these elements together for some startling developments, but Rafn also trips up in ways that threaten to break the film's provocative spell. The digi-grainy imagery often feels more like a cost-cutting measure (the film reportedly cost $7,000) than an artistic choice, Biggs makes a couple stupid and unlikely moves when chasing the killer, and the police procedural dialogue is often clumsy exposition, transparently written for the sake of the viewer. But Rafn's unconventional talent for eluding of whodunnit familiarity builds "Soho Square" to a memorable climax.

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