With an increasingly multitudinous selection of films released every week, it takes something special to make a movie stand out from the rest. However, as with the aptly named Faces in the Crowd, many are just bland and indecipherable. This thriller starring Milla (Resident Evil (2002)) Jovovich was the debut feature from Oscar-nominated writer/director Julien Magnat – though going by this I wouldn’t hold my breath on him repeating that accolade anytime soon.
Life is perfect for Anna (Jovovich) until she accidentally witnesses a murder by a notorious serial killer terrorising the area where she lives. Attacked by the killer Anna survives only to be left with ‘face-blindness’ – meaning she cannot remember anyone’s face even if she turns away for a split second. This is unfortunate for her but convenient for the killer as she can’t remember what he looks like, meaning he could be anyone. And he’s just discovered she’s still alive ……
Faces in the Crowd must hold the record for the most producers (14 in all) ever. However even they can’t save it from Milla Jovovich’s limited acting abilities. The one-time supermodel was passable in historical adventure / dramas like The Three Musketeers 3D (2011) and Joan of Arc (1999) and Sci-Fi epics such as The Fifth Element (1997) where any shortcomings in the portrayal of emotion could be glossed over by costumes and effects. But given a contemporary (albeit farfetched) scenario and the Ukrainian beauty seems out of her depth. Unfortunately for Jovovich there is also the presence of the legendary Marianne Faithful (a woman known as much, if not better, for her singing and relationship with The Rolling Stones than her acting) who knocks the socks off the rest of the cast in the few scenes in which she appears. The original 60’s ‘Rock Chick’ is mesmerising as Anna’s straight talking therapist, and could teach many aspiring thespians (Jovovich included) a lesson in the art of less is more.
Faithful aside the film’s only other saving grace is its moody look, particularly during the climatic confrontation with the killer on a rain swept bridge clearly influenced by Italian ‘Master of Shocks’ Dario Argento, complete with torn tarpaulins and slashing knives. In fact if Argento had been at the helm, this exercise in blandness may have stood more chance of standing out from the crowd.