Morgan Freeman’s ‘Kiss the Girls’ explained: Who is Casanova?
(Credit: Netflix)

Film Flashback

Morgan Freeman's 'Kiss the Girls' explained: Who is Casanova?

Morgan Freeman might have come late to acting stardom, but he more than made up for it in the 1990s, averaging more than one major role per year throughout the decade. His roles included the 1997 neo-noir film Kiss the Girls, which Netflix has recently added to its roster.

The movie is based on the novel of the same name, which is one of prolific author James Patterson’s best selling works. And it’s proven to be a hit with streamers who are partial to a crime thriller starring Freeman, too, reaching the top three films on Netflix in many countries.

Kiss the Girls sees the actor play a detective who goes in search of his missing niece. It turns out that she’s been abducted by a masked sexual predator known as Casanova. We first meet Casanova in the lair where he takes his victims, as his latest abductee, Kate McTiernan, becomes aware of her situation.

When Kate manages to escape the hideout, she provides Freeman’s character, Alex, with key information that helps him trace his niece’s disappearance to this mysterious predator. He brings Kate with him on an unofficial mission to track down a man in the area known to have procured large quantities of the drug used in her abduction.

The man is plastic surgeon Will Rudolph, who leads Alex and his team to Casanova’s secret lair. Rudolph is involved in the abductions and sex crimes taking place, but it’s revealed that he’s not acting alone. And, as Alex finds out when he chases and kills Rudolph, he’s not Casanova. The real masked predator manages to elude Alex’s grasp.

Although Alex’s niece and the other abductees are saved from the lair, Casanova remains on the loose. That is, until local police detective Nick Ruskin, who had helped Alex earlier in his search, appears at Kate’s house one evening.

So how does Casanova give himself away?

Nick discreetly cuts the telephone wire at the house soon after arriving. He’s come to claim the one victim who got away. When Alex calls Kate but can’t get through, he notices that Nick Ruskin’s signature on a local police record he happens to be checking matches Casanova’s handwriting.

He rushes to Kate’s house, but it’s too late. Nick is already coming clean to Kate, and preparing to have his way with her. He hints to her that he’s been going through her garbage before making clear that he’s been tracking her sexual activity. He knows that she hasn’t been active “Since that surgeon, six, seven months ago.” This line gives the game away, revealing that Nick was conspiring with Rudolph.

Kate fights for her life, before Nick attempts to rape her on her kitchen counter. She manages to pull a pan rail hanging from the kitchen ceiling down onto them, knocking Nick into semi-consciousness before tying him to her gas cooker. He then pulls the cooker from the wall, causing a gas leak, and prepares to blow them both up with his lighter before Alex arrives just in time to stop him.

Nick tries to justify his actions, explaining the motivation behind his Casanova persona. “Truth is, looking at a beautiful woman, like our Kate here,” he tells Alex, “and saying to yourself, I gotta have that. I gotta break her down. It’s your basest animal self.”

As he moves to ignite his lighter and kill them all, Alex shoots him through a milk carton, finishing the movie’s climactic moment with a somewhat farcical coup de grâce.

Casanova is dead. And Morgan Freeman has his hero’s ending.