Timur Bekmambetov’s film about a journalist investigating women online being lured to Syria is silly but effective
Cinema is currently deciding how it meets the challenge of representing the way modern life and modern experience is increasingly happening online. The recent supernatural horror-thriller Unfriended had the ingenious idea of playing out its entire drama on one computer screen in real time, a kind of found-footage 2.0, switching between Facebook, Skype and instant messaging, the various prompts all bleeping and pinging away disturbingly as a sinister presence looms up. Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (who went to Hollywood in the last decade for brash and crass movies such as Wanted) has applied this approach to a thriller that asks the eternal question: what happens when cops or reporters with unsatisfactory home lives go undercover among people who actually treat them rather well?
Profile is based on the 2015 non-fiction bestseller In the Skin of a Jihadist by a French journalist who now has round-the-clock police protection and has changed her name to Anna Erelle. She was investigating the phenomenon of young European women being radicalised online and lured to Syria; Erelle created a fake profile on Facebook and began chatting to a senior Islamic State commander who then tried to lure her over, repeatedly promising her that she would be his “bride”. A very dangerous game.
Link : Profile review – Skyping-with-Isis thriller dials up the suspense