On paper, Timur Bekmambetov doesn’t seem like the kind of filmmaker to spark a genre all its own. As the director of hit Russian superhero flicks Day Watch and Night Watch, he parlayed that into stateside action flicks Wanted, Ben-Hur, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. But since then he’s primarily worked as a producer, and as one of the major purveyors of Screenlife technology, movies that take place entirely on computer screens. Some have been pretty terrible, but every now and then you get something clever, like Searching or the Sundance film R#J. And now Bekmambetov’s latest, Profile, is using Screenlife to tell a very timely story in a unique way.
Bekmambetov actually takes the camera for Profile, along with co-writing the script and producing. The film centers on a journalist who uses social media to infiltrate a terrorist group that has been recruiting its members through Facebook. But as she gets deeper into her investigation, it becomes unclear whether she is becoming radicalized herself.
The cast is led by Valene Kane, Shazad Latif, Christine Adams, and Morgan Watkins.
There’s some truth behind the film, as well. It’s based on the book In the Skin of a Jihadist by French journalist Anna Erelle. It actually debuted three years ago at the Berlin Film Festival but is only just arriving stateside. Focus Features will release Profile on May 14th.
PROFILE follows an undercover British journalist in her quest to bait and expose a terrorist recruiter through social media, while trying not to be sucked in by her recruiter and lured into becoming a militant extremist herself. The unconventional thriller plays out entirely on a computer screen in the Screenlife format, pioneered by Bekmambetov.