In Twisted, directed by Philip Kaufman, Ashley Judd plays Detective Jessica Shepard. After the gruesome death of her parents, Jessica is raised by John Mills (Samuel Jackson), the San Francisco Police Commissioner. As one might expect from someone raised by Sam Jackson, she's one tough cookie -- prone to kicking men's butts and having guiltless one-night stands with random men she picks up at bars before drinking herself to sleep. Following her promotion to Homicide Inspector, she and her partner Mike Delmarco (Andy Garcia) investigate a string of murders, with the severely battered victims all being Shepard's ex-lovers. The evidence (and bodies) pile up and soon Shepard has to admit, "I'm my own best suspect."

The movie tries hard to keep you guessing and puzzling over all the clues, perhaps at the expense of the overall quality. Judd nevertheless does well, alternating between authoritative investigator, sexual deviant and traumatized softy. Garcia's performance also vacillates between honest friendliness and flat-out creepiness as the script requires. After a fairly gripping first half, the characters' motives start to blur and the twists and turns take center stage. The premise of the protagonist as her own main suspect isn't interesting enough to carry a movie that, when the lights go up, doesn't really hold together.


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