In debuting director Marcus Graves’ “Choose,” the game being played by the killer is one of either/or. In the opening, he’s got a girl’s parents bound and gagged, and forces her to select which one will be saved from a premature eternal sleep. Later, a pianist must pick between his ability to hear music (i.e. his ears) or to play it (i.e. his fingers). You get the picture, and perhaps you’ve already checked out by now.
I love these kind of stories, however absurd they may be — just think of the planning! Our hero here isn’t a cop, but a cop’s daughter, journalism student Fiona (Katheryn Winnick, “Love and Other Drugs”). Armed with her laptop, she uses her investigating skills to help crack clues that her sheriff father (Kevin Pollak, “Cop Out”) and his force cannot. Naturally, her nose for news gets her too close to her subject.
Unpredictability is not “Choose”’s strong point, but it tries its hardest to make things interesting while taking a well-trod path. Part of that is the bizarre extended cameo by Bruce Dern (TV’s “Big Love”) as the guy who sheds much light, leading them to narrow the field of suspects to the one true loon. Another is simply having the film centered around a tough-as-nails female, played by the wildly appealing Winnick. She held a similar role in the virtually unseen “Amusement” a couple of years go, and clearly deserves to be a bigger star. In fact, she has a real ScarJo thing going for her, but Winnick is the better actress.
However, there’s one scene that’s so goofy, I’m sure she’d like to see it excised. A creepy guy gets too close to Fiona for comfort, and says all quiet and sleazy-like, “You smell good, like apples. I like apples.” That alone is the most wretched of dialogue, but it gets worse when Fiona delivers a blow to his balls and quips, “Yeah? How do you like them apples?”
Well, I like the green ones. —Rod Lott