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Timur Bekmambetov
Valene Kane, Shazad Latif, Christine Adams
Writing Credits:
Britt Poulton, Timor Bekmambetov, Olga Kharina

An undercover British journalist infiltrates the online propaganda channels of the so-called Islamic State, only to be sucked in by her recruiter.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 8/10/2021

• None


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Profile [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 1, 2021)

Best-known in the US for 2008’s over the top action flick Wanted, director Timur Bekmambetov returns with 2021’s Profile. This offers a wholly different kind of thriller, one with roots in real life events.

A prologue tells us that many young European women left their homes after they became recruited by Muslim terrorists online. Eager to expose these techniques, London journalist Amy Whittaker (Valene Kane) sets up a fake Facebook profile as “Melody Lewis”, a 20-something who claims she recently converted to Islam.

Amy/”Melody” quickly hears from Abu Bilel Al-Britani (Shazad Latif), another former Brit now in Syria. As she delves deeper into this world, Amy finds herself more and more submerged in propaganda that might eventually turn her into a victim.

In the late 1990s/early 2000s, “found footage” movies like The Blair Witch Project became a big deal. That format wore out its welcome for the most part, so computer-based tales like Profile seem like a way to expand on these horizons.

On the positive side, this format allows Profile to give us an unusual cinematic experience. While not the first film to go down this route, it still offers something out of the ordinary, and that gives the flick an intriguing twist.

In theory, at least. Unfortunately, the reality seems substantially less interesting.

Because of the limited format, we find ourselves mainly stuck with endless shots of Amy on Skype. While this makes sense for the narrative, it doesn’t lend itself to an engaging movie, and Profile indeed tends to drag and seem less than engaging.

Most of the flick just features dull online conversations between Amy and Bilal. These rarely offer anything other than banal nothing.

Granted, that seems logical in a real-world sense, as most chats of this sort would probably seem pretty dull to outsiders. Nonetheless, the scenes become redundant and boring too much of the time.

For the movie to work, we need to send Bilal as a master manipulator, and that never occurs. He uses fairly lame techniques to seduce Amy, and while these might seem likely to succeed with immature teens, they make less sense with a late 20-something like Amy.

Again: yeah, I know people in the “real world” behave stupidly all the time. However, it doesn’t feel right in this circumstance given that Amy goes into her endeavors with the expectation that she’ll be manipulated.

Amy should keep her eyes wide open the entire time, but as the story progresses, she drops her intense mix of fear and cynicism to turn into a moony girl in love. If the movie wants us to accept this transition, it needs to depict Amy’s relationship with Bilal as more dynamic than it does.

This leaves us with all those dull Skype chats and little to convince us that a smart, skeptical woman like Amy would fall for Bilal’s cheesy methods. It also means we find a slow movie that never feels especially urgent or dramatic.

Sure, the narrative digs more into the threats against Amy at the end. However, at that point we just don’t really care, mainly because Amy eventually comes across as such a dope that we lose our investment in her, if we ever had one in the first place.

Profile never presents Amy as an especially interesting role, another problem since the entire film revolves around her. She seems kind of like a superficial twit much of the time, so our ability to sink our teeth in her journey sags.

As does the film as a whole. Profile comes with a gimmicky approach that offers intrigue but the movie itself seems too slow and boring to succeed.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus F

Profile appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Despite unusual visual choices, the image looked mostly good.

Given that so much of the film takes place on computer and smartphone screens, this inevitably led to some lackluster definition, but these moments remained modest. Most of the movie came with positive delineation and accuracy, so the soft spots weren’t an issue.

The source meant occasional signs of jagged edges and shimmering, but again, these failed to become a real concern, and they reflected the source. Edge haloes stayed absent, and I saw no print flaws, though the forms of photography led to digital artifacts in low-light shots.

Colors went with a low-key palette that delivered a light teal tone, but nothing extreme. Much of the image felt fairly natural, and the Blu-ray replicated the tones with accuracy given the limitations of the screen-based visuals.

Blacks were reasonably deep and tight, and shadows generally felt fine. The source leaned toward some murkiness but these issues didn’t become a concern. Given the nature of the film, I thought this was a pretty positive presentation.

Don’t expect sonic fireworks from the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, though it went with some awkward choices. In particular, the decision to often put Amy’s voice in the back speakers felt gimmicky and a bit distracting.

The track also spread out effects across the front and rear, a decision that didn’t make a ton of sense given the nature of the source. Since much of the material came from computer screens, it should have stayed centered, but the mix didn’t adhere to that.

This meant a track that broadened auditory horizons in an active manner, whether it seemed logical or not. Still, this didn’t become an issue, so the soundscape usually worked fine for the story.

Audio quality worked fine, with music that appeared vibrant and full. Effects usually lacked much impact, but they appeared pretty accurate and they showed good range when allowed.

Speech offered concise information that lacked prominent edginess or other issues, though the nature of the source occasionally created a little roughness. Given the nature of the film, I thought the soundtrack worked fine.

No extras appear on the disc – not even previews.

At its core, Profile offers an intriguing story, and its use of unusual cinematic techniques should allow it to prosper. Unfortunately, the end result never clicks, as it becomes a turgid trek to nowhere. The Blu-ray offers generally good picture and audio but it lacks bonus materials. Despite its promise, Profile disappoints.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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