The movie starts with the introduction of several main characters, some of which are naked before we ever really get to know them. But these two characters have to put their clothes on quickly, because there is a triple murder to investigate.
The first half of the movie had lots of exciting twists and turns and many great acting performances. I would say everyone with more than five lines the first night--and a waitress who was great with only three lines--did a good job. To me, the standout performances came from three actors:
Glenn Plummer as Squirrel, a nervous African American prisoner suspected of the murders, who had a speech impediment and frightened quite easily, even though he had apparently spent a lot of time on the wrong side of the law.
James Rebhorn as Erno, the head of security for the airport where murder victim Louisa Remardi worked, especially after he ... you can read about it after the spoiler warning.
Shemar Moore as Collins, a demanding prisoner with critical information about Louisa's murder, and the black nephew of Erno, who was white. Again, I can't say just why he was so good without a spoiler warning.
The first half could have been an exciting movie in and of itself, because enough loose ends were wrapped up, and enough information had been presented, to decide the case ... if it had all been true. But certain things weren't quite right. I knew they wouldn't be because I knew the movie was continued on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, I found the second half less enjoyable. Most of the information had been presented, though new revelations were still to come. Too much time was spent on relationships, and the excitement level was uneven. Good performances still made even the second half worth seeing. But the ending proved to be less than dramatic. Many movies like this, and most 'Perry Mason' and 'Matlock' episodes, have the suspense and the amazing plot twist that leads to, say, an exciting confession. This movie just ended. And the ending couldn't just be an ending. The future of some of the relationships had to be established.
I have to wonder if this was intentional: the detective on the triple murder case was named Larry, and the man who studied the murder weapon and bullets was Moe. So where was Curly?
This movie certainly wasn't for kids. Bad language and dialogue almost pushed the limits of what network TV allows, and one particularly nasty crime kept tripping up the investigation of the murders. You don't hear much about this particular act on network TV, which is fine with me.
Still, I would say this was worth seeing.
Erno became terminally ill by the end of the first half, which gave Rebhorn more of a challenge as the movie progressed.
Collins became 'born again', and certain events he wished he could put behind him finally had to come out. He asked Jesus for forgiveness all the time, but only when he was chased and confronted did he come clean. Moore effectively portrayed the dramatic change in the character. Yes, his race was a factor in the case.
Gillian, the judge who tried Squirrel's case, was an alcoholic and a drug addict who eventually did prison time--not a guarantee Squirrel would be released, but information helpful to the case. By the time Gillian was released, that case was being handled by Arthur, who found himself attracted to Gillian.
The 'nasty crime' wasn't the crime it was believed to be, but it was disgusting nonetheless.
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