The scene I'd come in on was the interrogation of Toby Jay Wadenah (played by the always-brilliant Benicio Del Toro, who was wearing some truly heinous extensions), a mentally handicapped Native American suspected of raping and brutally murdering a seven-year-old girl. The scene was intense, engaging, and a little sad, because Stan Krolak (Aaron Eckhart), the detective who was interviewing him, was clearly suggesting and leading to get a confession because he knew that Toby would be an easy target. The first time I watched it, I turned the channel after Stan's little victory dance when Toby confessed. It made me so angry; if you have any passing knowledge of how to deal with mentally handicapped people, you know that everything about the way Detective Krolak handled the interrogation was wrong. Toby had nothing to do with the girl's murder, and he was so guilt-ridden (because he'd been convinced that he'd committed the crime) that he took an officer's gun and shot himself in the station. I cried both times I watched it.
That was the best scene, but the second best came a while later, when former detective Jerry Black (a very understated performance by Jack Nicholson) was continuing the investigation, even though the case had been closed because of Toby's confession. Black went to visit Jim Olsted (Mickey Rourke), whose daughter had disappeared a few years before, to get information out of him. Now, I know Mickey Rourke was kind of a joke for a long time, but he is an amazing actor. He made me absolutely believe that he'd lost this little girl, that he was still holding out hope that she would be found, because that was all he had left. It was heartbreaking.
After that, the movie pretty much completely derails. It might as well be a different story, because the original premise is only referred to in passing. It was ridiculous. And the ending was so disappointing- the killer is never caught, even though you know who it is. You know how he was reeling these little girls in, what kind of car he drives, that they all call him "the Wizard"... But he dies in a car accident before he arrives to claim his last victim, where Jerry Black and Stan Krolak were staked out to catch him.
The worst thing was that it was so great for the first half of the movie. It was almost as if they wrote it in succession and just gave up towards the end. Half an hour could've just been left out, and then with that cop-out of an ending... Ugh. So much wasted potential.
EDIT: I thought I would add some pictures of those extensions... They don't look as bad in these screenshots but I can tell you right now, to the trained eye, they are PAINFUL to look at.
Note how close Stan's getting here. It gets weirder.
See!? What the fuck is up with this interrogation?
Also, I want to shave that ridiculous pornstache off Aaron Eckhart's face. Bad. It does NOT suit him at all.