Profile (2021)

Profile (2021) Cover

Profile is the 2021 'ScreenLife' film directed by Timur Bekmambetov, who has practically originated and heralded desktop cinema for quite some time now. The producer/director, who has produced major Hollywood films like Unfriended and Searching, goes to the director's chair for his latest onscreen cinematic outing. The film, based on In The Skin of A Jihadist by Anna Erelle, is Bekmambetov's attempt at taking a rather hefty topic, and making it work within the style that he has helped to popularize and develop. Personally, both Searching and Unfriended are two of my favorite horror and thriller films ever, and I have long been a strong proponent of Bekmabetov's style, which feels akin to the once-popular found footage genre. With Profile, there is no denying the power of this story as told through computer screens, espescially since technology plays such a pivotal role in the real-life stories from which this film is inspired. Yet, Profile's issues don't lie in its computer gimmick as much as they do in the script and performances, as this drama-thrillers winds up feeling a tad too forced and stretched to truly leave an impact. Clocking in at 1h 45m, Profile stays mostly engaging, but there is a somewhat intert feeling to the writing of the film, as it tackles the subject of online radicalization. Profile clearly touches upon a fascinating subject but the realization of this film's narrative feels lacking and sometimes a bit amateurish. Profile feels original and innovative, but with a topic this interesting, the film doesn't quite reach its potential.

In any desktop film, the performances can make or break the movie, and performers often have to work extra hard to get across nuanced emotions while stuck in a small box. In the case of Profile, the lead performance from Valene Kane never feels fully developed, and the writing for her character doesn't quite give us enough to feel fully invested in the intriguing relationship she develops with Shazad Latif's character Bilel. Latif himself is quite good in the film, even though his performance doesn't quite feel completely up to the par, and both performers do occassionally strike an interesting rapport. However, the occassionally dull writing and so-so performances don't give Profile's narrative quite the grounding they deserve.

Profile deals with an interesting topic in an innovative way, but the film's slow-burn suspense quickly devolves into something more lackluster and humdrum. That isn't to say that Profile is a complete dud - in fact, much of the film is engaging and well-paced, but these moments feel fleeting in a film that clearly needed a few more drafts before making its way to the silver screen. The innovation of Profile does speak for itself, however - the film might not be as taut as promised, but there is an originality in both form and content that's hard to ignore.



Final Verdict:Profile is undeniably original and innovative in its form and content, but the film's somewhat dull writing and slow pacing take away from its sharpness.