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REVIEW: A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER (1999)

In the middle of this film, I paused the DVD to check something out on IMDB. After the title and the cast, it said “plot synopsis empty”. Well, I thought… That couldn’t be more apt.

As the daughter of a film historian, I found the egregious historical errors unfathomable. The only thing that kept me watching was the fine acting of William H. Macy in the absurd role of a film critic with a film noir background that accidentally kills his lover and goes to ridiculous extremes to cover it up all the while breaking the fourth wall to explain it all to the audience.

First of all, the film was made in 1999 and the taxi cabs reflect that time period because the price on the side of the taxis said $2.00 for the first ¼ mile.

This being said, our anti hero says he is going to show a woman a “rare” print of  Gaslight. The fact that a woman who loves film, has never seen Gaslight is strange in and of itself but by 1999, having a rare print was just not possible. I myself owned the VHS since the late 80’s! Yes, Of course it is always preferable to watch a 16mm print on a larger screen but it certainly was accessible.

I also took umbrage with the fact that this critic taught a film noir class, showed a crucial scene from “The Postman Always Rings Twice” and made silly jokes as it was running. We who love film simply do not talk idly as we are edifying young minds.

The supporting cast did a valiant job. James Cromwell as the blackmailing detective is always fun to watch as is Macy’s real life wife Felicity Huffman as the unsuspecting girlfriend. Their chemistry on screen is always fun to watch as it is natural and playful. Adam Arkin does his best Peter Falk as a Columbo type police officer, who is also a would-be screenwriter, so I could not bail on this picture but it was an exceedingly long 94 minutes with no surprises and an outcome one could see coming from out of town.

I wish film makers doing an homage (The opening sequence was straight out of Rear Window) would make an attempt to fact check and not assume that a TV audience will have no knowledge of a film made prior to 1959.

I give this film 2 finger wags in honor of my daddy who told me NEVER to talk during a movie!

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