Emmett’s Mark (2002)

Rating: D

Dir: Keith Snyder
Star: Scott Wolf, Gabriel Byrne, Tim Roth, Khandi Alexander
a.k.a. Killing Emmett Young

Never a good sign, when Chris spots the big twist in a movie less than five minutes in – especially as she only suggested it jokingly. When we saw, mid-way through, the film preparing to use her suggestion, interest all but evaporated. Mind you, it was already skating on thin ice, due to a script which stretches credulity greatly. Homicide detective Young (Wolf) discovers he is terminally ill, so hires a stranger in a bar (Byrne) to arrange a hit on him, rather than endure a lingering death. Like we all do. Simultaneously, he is investigating a series of rape/murders, though his use of forensic psychology meets some resistance from within the department, and is also trying to get back together with his girlfriend, having realised he will otherwise be totally alone to face death.

However, none of these elements fit together with much degree of sense, despite solid performances, especially from Byrne, and Roth as the hitman hired to do the deed. Their roles are more interesting than that given to Wolf, though he isn’t helped by looking like the love-child of Tom Cruise and Michael J. Fox. Too many coincidences also bounce around the plot, leaving it feeling contrived – and despite these, there are still an abundance of loose ends. While some interesting concepts are floated, not least the identity of the rapist (who may be at least two of the main characters), these are left dangling. One suspects letting Snyder direct and write was a bad idea; separating the tasks might have lead to some of the script’s flaws being better addressed.