Chasing Ghosts (2005) Poster

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A tight mystery with a great Madsen performance.
tarbosh2200011 March 2006
"Chasing Ghosts" was a pretty good mystery. Michael Madsen stars as Detective Harrison, who is about to retire. He only has one more case to solve: Who is killing the crime lords around NYC?

The best parts of the movie are the confrontations with Madsen and Gary Busey, and the twists near the end. Meat Loaf, Michael Rooker and Danny Trejo are underused. The style of the film also works. The cinematography looks great but there are a little too many quick cuts. It was shot In L.A. but the director did a good job hiding it.

In the end: It's worth seeing for an excellent Michael Madsen performance and the presence of the eclectic cast.

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A solid film, not as bad as the rating shows
PersianPlaya40820 August 2006
I actually found this film which is rated pretty low on IMDb and seen by very few (only 337 votes) to be pretty effective. I mean it wasn't amazing suspense film, but it definitely wasn't what some described as "no better than a TV movie". It was much better, Michael Madsen did very well and the supporting cast was decent too, the direction was kinda average but the screenplay and plot made sense and actually executed pretty well and wasn't predictable. I liked the cinematography from Andrew Heubscher and dark score from Scott Glasgow. I also liked the editing in this film done by the director Kyle Dean Jackson, perhaps thats his main talent. Overall it was a movie worth renting, i was satisfied, nothing amazing, but a solid suspsense film. ---IMDB Rating: 5.3, my rating: 8/10
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Movie has its strengths
fightingfitz29 October 2005
The film has its merits and is quite an accomplishment for $1 million budget that it had. The story can be slow in parts but overall if you like the intricate puzzle story then you will enjoy this film. It is not a shot em up action movie so don't go in thinking that or you will be disappointed. The acting wanes a little for the young detective but overall the cast is good. Madsen plays a role that seems to peak at his real life antics sometimes. The direction is good considering the budget and limitations of being an indy. There were several times in the film where I forgot I was watching a LOW DOLLAR indy and it felt more like any other studio flick. I read an article that said the film was shot in something like 20 days so for that I am impressed. It is not the best movie this year but if you like old noir films and have a thing for Shannyn Sossamon, it is definitely something to catch. The last 20 minutes are GREAT if you have been attentive enough to follow the story up to that point.

Better than most....Not as good as some.
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Surprisinly Good
pratibha200423 October 2006
It's a talky, alright. Think of Usual Suspects in semi-reverse when you see it and it will still surprise. Since this went straight to DVD I wonder how many have actually seen it. It's written to hedge; and it makes you go back to Usual Suspects and ask yourself which script gave out the better misleading information. Sure, US has a better score, more meat in the casting, a higher calibre of editing, and more humour in the lines. But Ghosts keeps on talking and talking and Madsen keeps on sighing, shifting his feet, throwing butts all over the place, and acting like himself. Within the first five minutes you know he's a dirty cop, you just don't know how he is involved in this latest case. If you make it through the first 15 minutes your're going to stay the course till it's finished. This script is no slacker. Probably the best "B" movie Madsen ever made. Worth renting from the VDO store, even worth having for your own collection. Try it, you're gonna like it.
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Good first film with great music on a shoestring budget...
Bladerunner•14 August 2006
Madsen does Madsen like he always does, but here it fits the movie like a glove. The cinematography is outstanding; the Director of Photography deserves an Oscar nod for doing what he did on this budget. The music is spotty, one minute it is near greatness, the next minute it seems forced and mis-matched to the tension of the film. Still, the composer did an incredible job considering his budget. He did the whole thing on a Mac, with a MOTU Traveler using samples and a single recording session with strings only. The kind of atmosphere the director (Kyle Dean Jackson) was able to stir up with such a limited budget is remarkable.

There isn't a poor performance in the bunch, save one: Corey Large. Large has all the passion of a rice cake. The guy simply cannot emote, which is sad because Shannyn Sossamon gives a tour de force performance opposite someone giving her nothing. I am very interested to see what this young director will do next, because he certainly does have what it takes to make a good movie. Frankly I tend to believe that the writer, producer and (uncredited) second director Alan Pao had a LOT to do with this film's excellence. Here's hoping that we'll see many more good things from both Jackson and Pao in the future.
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Shannyn Sossamon Shines, Otherwise, Film Lacks A Plot.
jehaccess61 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw Shannyn Sossamon in 'The Holiday', I wanted to see what else she had done. Well, she was great in this otherwise forgettable effort.

Perhaps it is just me, but after two viewings I have little idea of what was going on. We have this dirty cop about to retire and held over to finish out a baffling murder case. For unexplained reasons, he drives around in a 1969 Ford Galaxie convertible with a police radio. He is not undercover, so why does he drive his personal car? I suppose he was watching too many episodes of 'Miami Vice' and 'Nash Bridges' where the TV heroes drove their own convertibles.

Then we have the trainee partner transferring in from undercover work in Miami. Somehow, he is immediately familiar with New York City and the local criminal hierarchy. His understanding of police procedure and office politics is strangely uneven. His personnel dossier is strangely incomplete, but little interest is aroused by these discrepancies. The police chief probably was thinking about having meatloaf for lunch.

The plot has the dirty cop turning in his badge and sending a confession of his crime to the daughter of the undercover cop he murdered to save himself from exposure and death. Why our man is suddenly developing a conscience is never addressed.

After more murders and an attempt to question an informant who suddenly and inexplicably turned homicidal toward his police handlers, we are allowed to find out that the real transferee cop from Miami has been held captive and a ringer is about to use his position to assassinate a crime lord in his prison cell.

After killing his real target, the phony cop has no difficulty escaping from prison guards and a police dragnet and boarding a private jet to fly to freedom.

The final photographs that would incriminate the dirty cop never reach the police and he presumably retires to enjoy his pension. The ending of this film is just as incoherent as the plot. It would not have strained the film budget much to provide a better script that would allow the audience to know what is supposed to be going on.
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More like a boring, 2-hour CSI episode.
Hagard195627 October 2005
Movie was quite boring, didn't bring much to the screen...

It is EXACTLY like a 2 HOUR version of one of the boring CSI episodes. Just drawn-out over 2 hours!. Now don't get me wrong, I LIKE CSI, but some of the episodes are just too slow to bare!

I would not recommend this movie, and it is mostly boring-police dialogue. If you are looking for an ACTION movie, you have chosen the wrong movie, this movie is more like a detective-drama.

If you are looking for a movie that resembles SAW, SEVEN, or Silence of the Lambs, this is not the movie to see. Unlike those three movies, Chasing Ghosts has a bad plot, reasonably bad cast (Madsen was fine as his usual self!), and watered-down action (when there was any action!).

MOVIE : 3/10 - Didn't like the movie.
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Going no where slow!
DeSkiCiO22 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I'm sure we have all seen long movies we have enjoyed, but this one appears to be a 30 minute movie with 80 minutes of filling, it just has long pointless scenes, that add nothing to nor the movie or the characters, they are just there and you have to watch them. It even has characters that add nothing what so ever to the plot, they just appear do their stuff, say their lines and yes, you have to watch it.

I must admit after watching the first 100 minutes, the movie has an interesting twist, probably thats why i didn't give it a 1, but even the most twisted of twists could not save 100 minutes of nothing.

It has some pieces of action but for some strange reason the director might have thought you could get excited and he nicely inserted them in the form of flashbacks he could interrupt every 30 seconds and fit in a few minutes of reaction shots.

To finish this off i promise i was trying hard to think something nice to say about the movie but it happens to be so long and so slow, that when you get to an action scene or to an important part of the story you are so bored from what happened before that they go unappreciated.
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Pretty decent movie, but plot twist? C'mon on...
JWJanneck5 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A pretty decent and entertaining movie. The story is engaging and so are its characters, the acting is decent to excellent (I would agree with another reviewer that Large turns in the weakest performance, but it's still not too bad, and perhaps his lack of "emoting" might even be considered "in character" [1]), and its done well technically. I found it entertaining.

One thing that seemed slightly odd, though, is that at the end of the movie it seemed as if it had intended to surprise its audience with a "plot twist". Really? I do not necessarily pride myself as someone who can figure out plot twists way in advance---I knew something fishy was going down in the Sixth Sense but did not know what it was, and I did not see the twist in the Usual Suspects coming. But this one? C'mon, pretty early on the movie essentially sticks the audience's nose in it, and throughout there are those "hints" being dropped that point like neon signs to the solution. It really felt more like the movie was letting the audience in on the truth without any of the characters knowing it, until the end---the way it was shot just made sense if the director assumed that up to that point (a large part of) the audience was essentially unaware of what was going on. Which it might have been, if it was asleep or running for popcorn when it was all laid out, didn't speak the language, or had never seen a movie before.

But even though it seems that the director slightly underestimates a modern audience, it's still an okay movie, and it remains interesting in spite of knowing the "solution"---I am not a great fan of movies whose only interest is in a gimmicky plot twist or the whodunnit anyway.

[1] I guess one could say that Meat Loaf won't in all likelihood be remembered for his performance in this movie, either---but hey, he may not be a great actor, true, but it was cool to see him on screen, and he did what he could, and two out of three ain't bad!
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A decent choice for lovers of film noir
markcubsfan25 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Chasing Ghosts is a low budget throw back to film noir flicks - lots of dead bodies,tough good guys and really nasty bad guys, convoluted subplots and scenes that don't quite make sense. Despite being a bit more confusing than it has to be, I found it fun to watch and intriguing. One of the best parts of the movie is the star, Micheal Madsen. He reminds me of one of my favorite actors, Robert Mitchum. He's got the world-weary tough guy character down and is fun to watch. The rest of the acting ranges from acceptable to downright bad (co-star Corey Large just doesn't work at all in this).

The comments on the board about this movie seem a bit harsh to me. Most of the noir flicks were more about feeling and images than the actual story. And many of them had plot twists and character types in common with other movies. True, some editing would help the pacing here (that seems to be the case with so many movies these days, are the editors on strike?)and the acting could have been better but hey it was a low budget flick. Overall it reminds me of so many film noir flicks. It does a lot right and is more fun than many big budget movies out there today.
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Plodding, slow, 2-part crime show pilot for HBO.
c-conley9031 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Slow and boring and long with the feel of a more vulgar version of CSI with Madsen wasting his time more playing a dirty cop who's involvement in Michael Rooker's death is apparently leaving him with sleepless nights or something, we just have flashback shots and Madsen in bed shots to really show for anything and he doesn't look too disturbed. Corey Large is awful as his new partner, a typical rookie role that's a twist that I don't mind revealing, he's the murderer. Yes, Madsen is on his typical "last case" cliché and it's a supposed serial killer of mob men or people involved in criminal enterprises and pictures left to taunt the detective and his staff. Hell they even have a funny autopsy/coroner whatever guy like CSI too. Gary Busey is wasted, he isn't even given a final fight scene or any dialogue besides a flashback scene that is inter-spliced into the movie at several points to be Madsen's nightmare. And even then the scene is not shown fully and so don't get a full clue on what happen til the final half of movie. And Busey is just not even given much of chance against Corey "doofus" Large who easily murders him. That's just lame. Busey is never one to go down without a fight regardless of the movie. And his death in this is rather stupid and anti-climatic.

Danny Trejo gives a good performance as does veteran actor Tom Wright but they are lost in a sea of shitty other performances. Meat Loaf is there too as the superior to Madsen and is also barely in the movie. The end is bad and Large gets away with everything, why? I don't know. This movie is dumb and boring. And I have a feeling scenes are missing from it, like maybe nearly the whole ending is missing.

Michael Rooker is also wasted in this movie. So many wasted good actors in this movie, it's a shame.
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Don't even bother!
Jaydogg199416 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Good Cinematography, OK plot, and good acting by Michael Madsen and most of the cast is not enough to save bad writing, Poorly written dialog, And the worst acting ever captured on film by none other then Corey Large (America's worst actor who only keeps getting work because he produced and wrote every movie that he's in such as this film because no one else will hire him since he's the worst actor ever and this film confirms it), the ending (which has Corey large posing like a huge tool) is horrible and doesn't make any kind of sense what so ever, this movie is a huge waste of time don't even bother with this piece of crap.
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jfgibson736 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this movie because I like several of the actors, including Madsen and Shannyn Sossamon. Shannyn is likable enough that I am willing to watch her in just about anything. Which is helpful, given the roles she generally gets.

The mystery involves people turning up dead with Polaroid pictures left behind as clues. Kevin Harrison (Madsen) is the hardboiled, jaded detective who is retiring after this last case. Except that this case has connections to mistakes he has made in the past. There is a new cop working with him who behaves oddly, and the case also involves a link to Taylor's (Sossamon) missing father.

The narrative was somewhat difficult to follow. It included flashbacks that seemed to contradict each other and motivations that the viewer had to guess at. Except that it doesn't really add up to a compelling enough story to make me want to watch it again. Some movies may seem complex on first viewing, but are rich enough to go back and examine until you get it. I won't be doing that with Chasing Ghosts. I think I'll re-watch L.A. Confidential instead.
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Not bad for its budget
peter-ramshaw-19 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Hey, for a million bucks, you can't work miracles these days. Sure,this is a B-grade Se7en but it's not as bad as some reviewers have indicated. The plot's a bit convoluted but, in the end I think you get the idea. Madsen is as good as always and the semi-high-key treatment is quite moody. The was an overly obvious give away (when the 'new' cops takes off his shirt and his back is full of bullet holes) which really did lessen the impact of the final reveal. Nevertheless the plot was intriguing and, unlike a number of other reviewers, I'm of the view that it doesn't really need to sew up every single question in the viewer's mind to be effective. Sometimes, in films like this, a little mystery at the end is OK as it's still satisfying enough for closure.
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Neo noir done right. Severely overlooked film.
NateWatchesCoolMovies25 February 2016
Chasing Ghosts is a shadowy neo-noir treat, a throwback to the hard boiled detective thrillers of golden age Hollywood. Michael Madsen even said in an interview for this that a lot of the time he bases his acting work on old school tough guys like Lee Marvin and Robert Mitchum, making him the perfect guy to headline such a deliciously nostalgic flick. Here he plays Detective Kevin Harrison, a good cop who has found himself entangled in a dangerous web of corruption. He's a good guy that happened to make a lot of bad decisions which led him into the company of treacherous people. He is dealing with a mysterious serial killer who is targeting high ranking mob figures, which in turn dig up old memories involving old partner and friend Mark Spencer (an implosive Michael Rooker) who he couldn't save. He feels like a father figure to his Rooker's daughter (Shannon Sossamyn) who is now an inquisitive journalist. He's also got a timid new partner (Corey Large) who tags along, not knowing the danger he'll wade into simply by being close to a guy like Harrison, who has danger written all over him. The plot thickens, then coagulates, then boils, hardens and gets shattered again by all kindly third act revelations and labyrinthine exposition that takes some patience and a love for this kind of genre stuff. Madsen makes a sympathetic, frayed protagonist who is anything but a hero, yet trying to right some pretty heavy wrongs that weigh on his soul. Gary Busey brings his trademark bugnuts weirdness as Marcos Alfiri, a powerful gangster with ties to Madsen's past. Meat Loaf is an energetic police captain, Lochlyn Munro another department grunt, Sean Whalen the obligatory perky, wiseass coroner, Patrick Kilpatrick is a going ho SWAT commander, and Danny Trejo shows up for a verbose extended cameo as another underworld figure. This one deserves way better than the scant distribution and lukewarm reception it got. It's neo noir done right, and doesn't disappoint.
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I'm starting to get the feeling that we are chasing ghosts around here.
lastliberal8 January 2009
If you like neo-noir and Michael Madsen, then this will be entertaining.

First, it has a great cast supporting Madsen: Shannyn Sossamon, Gary Busey, Michael Rooker, and the always interesting Danny Trejo.

Sossamon did a really good job in this low budget indie. Madsen was great as a dirty cop that is handling one last case that may reveal his secrets. Corey Large is a mysterious cop brought in allegedly from Miami to help.

There is a big twist at the end a la The Usual Suspects.

Outstanding cinematography.
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