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Cinematic Releases: Profile (2021) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 1065 days ago on Entertainment - Russian cult director Timur Bekmambetov’s follow up to his 2016 commercial bomb Ben Hur (the third remake), a webcam thriller called Profile involving a journalist who goes undercover investigating ISIS recruiters, is another one of those movies shelved for years before being dumped into theaters amid the COVID-19 pandemic ala The Empty Man.  Completed in 2018 the film comes to theaters now through Focus Features and is a loose docudrama adaptation of Anne Erelle’s nonfiction book In the Skin of a Jihadist through the computer chatroom lens of Unfriended.   Despite strong performances from the film’s two leads, Valene Kane as the journalist Amy Whittaker who creates a new fake Facebook profile of a woman who recently converted to Islam and Shazad Latif as the charismatic but dangerous recruiter Bilel, Bekmambetov’s film joins the likes of September Tapes as another trashy found footage flick masquerading as a topical issues discourse.  Moreover, it comes to theaters at a time when the last thing anyone wants to do is look at more ZOOM videochat screens. Having produced Searching as well as Unfriended: Dark Web, this new inexplicably $2.3 million movie (where’d all that money go?) shows Bekmambetov as one of the subgenre of mockumentary cinema verite style thiller’s biggest new purveyors, for good or for ill.  That said, while the subject matter being utilized here is indeed a disturbingly ongoing real world problem, Bekmambetov’s film is an ultimately anticlimactic dirge that neither advances the discussion nor the careers of the actors involved.  Skip it.--Andrew Kotwicki (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

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