Profile Is Absolutely Terrifying

Valene Kane stars as Amy in Timur Bekmambetov’s PROFILE, a Focus Features release. Credit: Courtesy of BEZELEVS and Focus Features

Profile, which premiered over three years ago, is a terrifying thriller and is completely told by way of a computer screen.

The film is finally making its way to theaters over three years after the world premiere in Berlin and US premiere at SXSW. Until Focus announced their acquisition, I honestly forgot about the film’s existence. It’s typically never a good sign for a film to take this long between premiere and release. Even in a non-pandemic world, a two-year delay would not be good either. The pandemic means so many theatrical delays and there’s no telling just exactly what happened with this film.

The gist of the film is that a British journalist is posing online as an Islamic woman and recruited by an ISIS terrorist. After a previous piece, freelance journalist Amy Whittaker (Valene Kane) is on deadline to write a follow-up piece on recruitment. In the film, she poses as Islamic convert Melody Nelson and starts developing actual romantic feelings for Abu Bilel (Shazad Latif). For being a journalist seeking to investigate the recruitment of women, this was a plot twist that I didn’t see coming at all. In part, it may just help explain how so many women found themselves being recruited by terrorists. Honestly, the film is just so terrifying and I cannot stress this part enough.

Filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov uses the same Screenlife technology that we saw in Searching. I honestly forgot that he was a producer on the Sundance breakout. Factor in the inevitable comparisons and the film’s delay just might be a good thing.

At its worst, Profile–although terrifying–may be among the more interesting films this year

DIRECTOR: Timur Bekmambetov
SCREENWRITERS: Britt Poulton and Timur Bekmambetov & Olga Kharina
CAST: Valene Kane, Shazad Latif

Focus Features will release Profile on May 14, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.