Based on the first book of a trilogy, Twin Murders – The Silence of the White City is Netflix’s latest psychological thriller which dropped this weekend. While the premise behind the story is not wholly original, it definitely had the potential to be a tense and thrilling movie, especially as it tackles the very popular genre of serial-killer dramas. Unfortunately, the film lacks substance, coming in short on character development and consequently leaving you hungry for more.
The movie starts with two corpses found brutally murdered and with a very similar modus operandi used by convicted serial killer Tasio, who has been in prison for 20 years. Having recently returned to Vitoria, Detective and profiler Unai López de Ayala soon starts to investigate the case of a potential copycat, with the help of his partner Estíbaliz. While trying to deal with the demons of his past, Unai visits Tasio in prison before studying each of the murders from the past and present, racing against time to stop the serial killer from claiming more victims.
During its first half hour, Twin Murders does take a little time to start and feels rather slow and sluggish. With the expected cliches found in psychological thrillers cropping up, the first act will probably struggle to grip you as effectively as it perhaps should. Instead of following the usual “Whodunit” ideas, Twin Murders surprisingly reveals very early on who the killer is.
While I understand that this was intentional to show us his motive and give a better understanding of who this man is, it does remove a lot of the tension from the movie. Still, there’s just enough of a mystery to keep you guessing until the end, with an interesting twist behind his crimes kept for the third act of this tale.
There are some nice narrative ideas brought forward here too, with one such example dabbling in ancient lore surrounding Adam and Eve. Despite these promising ideas, they’re frustratingly not elaborated or developed on further beyond their surface level intrigue, accentuating the lack of substance for the characters.
Given the amount of material here, I can’t help but think this adaptation would have a worked a lot better as a 4 or 6 episode limited series rather than a feature film, giving it time to flesh out its characters and different subplots effectively rather than brushing over them and leaving this feeling hollow and unsatisfying.
The acting from the cast isn’t particularly outstanding either although Javier Rey is probably the one stand out, giving a believable performance as a troubled cop. Unfortunately, there isn’t much chemistry between him and his boss Alba (played by Belen Rueda) who comes across as pretty bland.
There is some nice cinematography though and the beautiful scenery around Spain is enough to keep things visually interesting. The chase sequences around the cathedral is probably the one stand-out moment of the film though and if there’s one scene that perfectly captures Spain’s beauty, it’s this.
Twin Murders – The Silence of the While City is not a bad thriller but it isn’t a particularly good or original one either. The film lacks substance and desperately needs more explanation to its backstories and various subplots. The premise behind this is quite interesting, and the ending was tense with a decent enough twist, but unfortunately it’s not enough to help this murder mystery stand out next to other popular offerings in this genre.