Loosely based on a true story, Profile is equal parts thrilling and dull. The film, shot in "computer screen" style, does a great job at immediately capturing your attention, only to slowly wane your interest by the time the credits roll. Director Timur Bekmambetov puts this movie entirely on a 2014 MacBook screen, a unique and sometimes mesmerizing style. Eventually, this gimmick loses its luster, and the constant FaceTime, iMessage, Skype, and Mail apps become more of a distraction and ultimately a restraint to the underlying thrill. Adapted from Anna Erelle's novel, "
In the Skin of a Jihadist, Profile examines the terrifyingly effective form of ISIS recruitment, especially as it pertains to young women. By using social media platforms, ISIS argets young women from around the world, gives them false hope and promises, and slowly convinces these girls to join their cause. A struggling English reporter, Amy (Valene Kane), decides to tackle this issue head on, risking her life to go undercover online, posing as a young girl vulnerable to manipulation. Shortly after a few Facebook "likes" and "shares," Amy is contacted by Bilel (Shazad Latif), a charming ISIS recruiter. As their relationship strengthens, Amy gets a look at some of the most dangerous and heartbreaking aspects of the ISIS recruitment process. If nothing else, Profile is an important movie. It sheds light on some of ISIS's methods, and it really shows how easy it can be to manipulate a young teenager through social media platforms. The acting is fine, but the cast is never really given much to do. The audience only views these characters through a video call lens, and most of the tension is built through the evolving investigation. By telling this story through a computer screen, Bekmambetov ( Ben-Hur, Wanted) limits some of the excitement as the film nears its completion. Even with the hindering style that eventually generates a sort of screen fatigue, the story is just gripping enough to keep the audience invested. Admittedly, Bekmambetov does a great job organizing chaos on screen; Amy switches from app to app in a frantic but controlled fashion, building tension with every Command+Tab input. You would be hard-pressed not to find this film immediately captivating, whether that has to do with the unique style of presentation, or the undercover investigation of a Jihadist recruiter. This interest loses its luster throughout the 106-minute runtime, however. Truly a thriller for a new age, Profile is worth a watch, if only for the brief insight into one of the world's most notorious terrorist organizations.
All Movie Guide - Travis Norris