Slight Case of Murder, A
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Warner Bros. released a DVD version of a seven year old TV movie. Normally I’d be up in arms, ranting and raving about how the Machine is fleecing the consumers, but this time all I have for them is a “thank you”. I didn’t catch this when it was first aired, but I can certainly recommend picking it up now.
“A Slight Case of Murder” tells the story of Terry Thorpe (the always brilliant William H. Macy), a philandering film critic (big points in my book for the critic part) who accidentally kills his girlfriend. It looks like an accident, and for all intents and purposes WAS an accident, but when you don’t want girlfriend #1 to know about dead girlfriend #2, your best bet is to get the hell away from the crime scene.
Problem is, he wasn’t as scott-free as he thought. He left enough evidence so the police knew someone else was in the apartment, and he was photographed by John Edgerson, a private investigator (James Cromwell, who looks like a giant standing next to Macy). Edgerson is willing to look the other way if Thorpe can come up with some blackmail cash, which he has to beg, borrow and even steal to keep his name off the suspect list.
Having watched thousands of murder mysteries as a critic, Thorpe quickly deflects attention from himself, to a point where the main detective on the case, Fred Stapelli (Adam Arkin) invites him over for dinner with his wife Patricia (Julia Campbell, who is absolutely adorable in every role she plays).
Not getting caught is never as easy as it seems, and Thorpe has to juggle the characters in the story ever so carefully to avoid any slipups. He views himself as the hero in the story, so it makes sense that ultimately he’ll get away with murder, but it takes a whole lot of lying, manipulating and even more death to wipe the slate clean.
“Murder” is frantic in some spots, and almost seemed written for Macy, with his bumbling, paranoid but loveable demeanor. Hell, I was rooting for the two-timing murdering thief!
The film itself appears to transcend time, taking place in what seems like the 30s in some places, and modern times in others. It could have been distracting, but instead put all the focus on the plot and the crazy twists and turns that we as viewers experience, instead of the background. The whole story is told from Thorpe’s point of view, adding to the tension, since we never see the roadblocks in the path to freedom until he does.
If you’re a fan of police dramas or murder mysteries, you’re in for a treat. “A Slight Case of Murder” has a monstrously talented cast, and a riveting story that will have you on the edge of your see until the unavoidable ending. Unless you’re in a beanbag chair, in which case the edge of the seat would be the floor. It’s an easy 4 ½ cans out of 5, and made for a wonderfully entertaining viewing experience.
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Added: Tuesday, September 26, 2006
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