Ambitiously attempting to draw together past and present strands in a Ghanaian emigre’s life, Joe Brewster’s “The Killing Zone” ends in the swamps of vigilante drama, hurt by unsure pacing and undeveloped performances except for Jim Jarmusch favorite Isaach de Bankole. There’s an interesting dramatic idea here about forcing a man to review his life after witnessing the street killing of the doctor who sponsored his boyhood move from Ghana to the U.S., but the actual playing out of this idea is dull and contrived. Pic’s fest and commercial prospects may improve if dreadful vid transfer is discarded.
Psychiatrist Malcolm (de Bankole) is trying to raise his middle-class family via his struggling private practice. Invited by his doctor-sponsor Atong (Peter Frances James) to participate in a medical program in a crime-ridden Brooklyn precinct dubbed “The Killing Zone,” Malcolm reacts to Atong’s murder by pursuing the pint-sized killer (Rony Clayton) with a vengeance the film doesn’t prepare viewers for. His intertwined memories of his boyhood suggest the mind at work, but in arbitrary terms.