Profile | Chicago Reader

Profile

The “screenlife” genre has boomed in recent years. From Levan Gabriadze’s Unfriended series, to Aneesh Chaganty’s Searching, and Rob Savage‘s Host, audiences and filmmakers are seeing the value of using our screens to tell engaging stories. Timur Bekmambetov’s stab at screenlife—after producing many of the standout films that shaped the genre—puts its focus on ISIS recruitment on social media. Profile is loosely based on the true story: a broke freelance journalist (Valene Kane), desperate for a story and a paycheck, goes undercover to expose an ISIS recruiter on Facebook during a spike of young European women converting to Islam and starting new lives in Syria. Profile is less concerned with the destination as it is with the journey: the long con of building a relationship over Skype, putting on a new persona every day, forgoing your personal relationships and responsibilities for the thrill of a story. There are times when Profile can feel gimmicky and overly reliant on jump scares, but it finds a dark sense of reality when it interrogates how far someone will go to meet a crushing deadline—even if the ethical questions are off-kilter.

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