Criminal Intent (TV Movie 2005) Poster

(2005 TV Movie)

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Very Entertaining Two Hours
whpratt110 August 2005
Decided to watch this film on "Lifetime" Channel and was quite surprised with the great acting and a very tricky plot, which kept you just wondering who was the bad guy or girl. The opening scene has lots of blood all over the place as a person gets chopped up like CHOPPED LIVER. The knife is removed and from then on the story has many twists and turns that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Lots of romantic scenes and you will never guess how the picture ends. A divorce lawyer comes to the aid of a client and winds up having to defend her ex-husband who is accused of killing his wife. This is a rather different murder mystery and it is a film that is very worth your while to sit back and ENJOY !
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Failed after first scene
tk11-28 October 2009
Watched the first scene, and none of it made any sense. #1. Why would the police be the only ones called to the scene, I mean its a stabbing. You would think just maybe, paramedics might be a more important in this situation. #2. The 911 operator gives completely false instructions on how to perform CPR. You don't breath into the mouth first, you do that after at least 30 hard pumps into the chest. #3. Why in the world would you pull out the knife as you hear police sirens, instead of pulling it out while she was dying? This was all just unbelievably stupid and so I fortunately decided not to waste 2 hours of my life watching this crap. 3 minutes is all it took to fail, yikes.
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Surprising Twists
mollidew25 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know how people can say someone's acting is bad. They do have a director with a vision. A TV movie is filmed much quicker than one that goes out to the theaters. All of these actors are good seasoned television actors. I am offended at all the comments about age. If the women were much younger than the males no one would comment, but the fact they are older they make demeaning comments about that. They wanted strong leads for the females it is obvious. I felt they all put in great performances given it was only a TV movie and the twists were clever. I was never bored watching this movie. I love Vanessa Angel and I know nothing about her getting cosmetic shots in her lips or a wig or anything else and I doubt anyone else here does either. I think comments should be based on the film and not personal attacks upon the actors. I personally love Sebastian Spence and I liked all the other actors and felt Vanessa Angel did a fine job. It wasn't like a Hitchcock movie in that the script was rather mundane. It had it's twists and turns but it was no major motion picture. It was Lifetime like most of their movies; some better than others. If you don't like murder mysteries you won't like it but if you like suspense this movie was fine. Not the best I have ever seen but entertaining.
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catdance-118 August 2005
Utterly the most painful movie I have ever suffered through. I kept hoping that it would improve since it had Linda Purl; however, it just kept spiraling down hill. If you want something more entertaining try a root canal. This could have been a great movie if they had bothered to invest some money into actors who could carry this type of story line. It was just an endless parade of pretty faces "mugging" for the camera. Nor will it become one of those "bad" films that later becomes faddish due to its comically bad acting. This was just plain bad. Even after a while Linda's normally superb acting was lost in the damage. The sad statement is that each of these actors have done superb work in other films yet they just didn't have the edge to carry this story line.
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Not bad for limited budget!
nogoflyzone8 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Not a bad film considering the limited budget and the 12 day shoot schedule. However,more attention should have been taken with the script regarding dialogue,scene development and pace. The actors did a fine job with what they were given.The Treasury Agent was good but the scenes between the DA and the Treasury Agent could've been stronger as they were undermined by too much linear exposition. Better dialogue would 've ensured stronger moments with which to develop their case against the Accused. The scenes between the Accused and the Defence lawyer seemed a little contrived and more care was needed to develop their relationship after his release. Again,not a bad film considering the limitations that are apparent with a small budget.
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Movie has a failed series pilot feel to it
marbleann11 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Lifetime movies are always great when you have nothing to do and want to look at something entertaining. This movie from its description looked like a winner. Man is accused of killing ex wife, wife's girlfriend defends him. A perfect Lifetime movie, "Television for women" movies that women get killed raped and cheated on.

Well itstarts out OK. Hubby is on a 911 call saying his wife has been stabbed. The 911 operator asks him to do CPR and he doesn't do it. All of a sudden I know he did it. And there lies the problem If a person looked hard enough and noticed that he didn't even attempt CPR it would of settled right away who did it. Then if that wasn't enough right before the cops show up he removes the knife. That is not the spoiler, I won't give that away The DA played by Linda Purl is very ambitious and we are reminded by the hubby's lawyer that she is not above using dirty tricks to win a case. So now we have a bad guy other then the suspect. The husbands lawyer is played by Vanessa Angel. This has nothing to do with the movie but I was very distracted by the way she looked. It seems that she has botoxed her lips so much she looks like Faye Dunaway on a bad day. She was very distracting. Plus she is a pretty bad actress.

THere are plenty of twists and turns and it tries to be clever. But something falls flat. I am not sure what it is. Linda Purl is her usually capable self, the person who plays the husband is swarmy enough. There is a govt lawyer who is looking into the financial holdings of the accused who sounds like he has a accent one second and the next he second he doesn't. Him and the DA have a weird relationship first he is threatening to send he to traffic court the next half of the movie he looks like he is trying to get a date with her. They bounce ideas off of each other about who and how and why the wife was killed. It looks like this might have been a failed series pilot. Once again Lifetime fills the bill, but this movie is not as good as usual.
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Not too bad!!!
Novemberschild0627 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I am biased because I happen to love anything Linda Purl is in, but this movie really is not too bad! Linda Purl has the lead role, she's a strong woman typical to what "Lifetime" tries to portray women as. She was great in her role. This movie had a very unexpected twist which was good. With many movies you can see a twist coming, with this movie it was very surprising. But, after a twist such as this, one expects the movie to end not too long after, and this movie seemed to drag out a little too long after the reveal. I don't think the actors should be blamed for this though. The casting was pretty good, the actors were believable in their roles. The camera shots and fades from one scene to another keep your attention. Overall I think you will enjoy this movie.
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Not that terrible
linda-plant28 August 2007
As the plot for a film goes, it was good and gripping. However, as others have commented, with the exception of a few, the acting was not exactly master-class. In particular, Vanessa Angel - is she really a professional actress ? or did she do it for a dare, and as for the wig she was wearing ............. Linda Purl certainly held the film together, and did her best with a script that could have been a bit more "meatier". I felt the camera angles were "interesting" at times, and thought the cameraman was attempting to speed things up a bit with his whizzing around the room moments. Overall, the plot made for good watching, but could have been made even better with a superior cast list.
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God awful acting, plot, overall cheezy
TAz0026 June 2006
This movie overall feels so cheezy, you never really get into it. The plot is virtually non-existent as anyone with a few movies on their back can tell you who the killer is. Also the acting, especially from that treasure agent, no time to look up the name, is REALLY bad. You can really feel that he is reading it for the first time as he is going along. Most of the actors feel like retired adult movie stars. Although, Devon, performs rather well, and I could see him as a new James Bond, although maybe a bit too short.

Overall a movie, NOT worth watching, I do not get the previous comment. The romance scenes are bland or non existent. The writer must have taken part in making this poor roll of tape.
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A Feminized Version of Perry Mason
lavatch18 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
"Criminal Intent" was a throwback to the old black-and-white television episodes of "Perry Mason." The film has been thoroughly updated with women replacing the men as the litigators. Unfortunately, the slow-pacing and convoluted plot leave only average impressions on the viewer.

The three principal characters are the District Attorney Kirsten, the defense attorney Susan, and the defendant Devon, who is being tried on charges of killing his wife. There is a rivalry between the prosecutor Kirsten and her courtroom adversary Susan that seems a unhealthy at the outset and gets worse as the film proceeds. One of the most intriguing roles was that of Judge Greenwood, who was a convincing television judge who remained impartial throughout the proceedings.

The most painful moments in the film are the "reconstructed" scenes imagined by the various attorneys, who seek hypotheses for the murder of Devon's wife Angela. The blurry sequences drag and make the film more complicated than it should be. The subplot of Devon's possible money laundering and ties to criminal organizations was also flimsy and distracting from the principal murder case.

The filmmakers dropped the ball by not having more lively courtroom drama. Most of the action was played out in the subplots and the recurring scenes in the prison where Devon confers with his attorney. A stock image of a fortress-like prison recurs all too frequently to cue the viewer to another prison conference scene.

Among all of its shortcomings, the film's greatest liability was that the characters were so unlikable and unpleasant. The only character with some decency was Marge, the idealistic legal assistant of Susan. Unfortunately, Marge goes the way of knife and is unable to redeem this lackluster effort to resurrect the spirited legal drama of a Perry Mason story.
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Purely average
caa82130 July 2008
Checked the previous seven comments here as this flick was beginning. Frankly, reading them was as interesting as watching the film. Where there are a great number of comments, you expect them to be diverse, and even with a few, usually somebody loves the move, someone else hates it, etc.

However, among the few here, comments ranged from those who seemed to feel the story, plot and performances were reminiscent of Hitchcock's best, to those who seemed to place it at the bottom end of the frequently mediocre "Lifetime" fare. Descriptions of the plot seemed to vary from feeling it was completely clever and suspenseful to totally banal.

One individual cited that this presentation was filmed in 12 days. I didn't see anything to confirm this, but he seemed certain, and the level of the performances (including that of the usually excellent Linda Purl), seemed to confirm this.

With D. A. Purl turning 50 at time of filming, and defense lawyer Vanessa Angel near 40, both were years senior to the male leads, David Palffy at 35, and Sebastian Spence about a year older. At her age, Angel looks as though she may surpass Joan Rivers in terms of Botox applications long before she reaches the latter's advanced age.

I've come to believe that a major reason for producing these "Lifetime" presentations is to assist in supporting Canada's economy, since most of them seem to be shot there, usually in either Vancouver (as this flick was) or Toronto. I suppose which site is utilized depends on background needed for the particular story, but primarily whether cast and crew are more West Coast or East.

Actually, after viewing the film myself, I feel that just about all the previous ones commenting had it partially correct. I would give it what amounts to an average of these, as well as the overall "ratings" figure shown on this site..

The acting was uninspired, with neither the characters nor the performances particularly engaging. There was something of a "twist," and while somewhat interesting, it seemed to be one which could well be seen coming, and the only possible basis for a "twist," given the dull storyline and equally dull interaction among the lead characters. The ending did involve some knife-wielding, inevitable in most "Lifetime" offerings, but tamer than usual.

And when the mid-30-ish treasury guy (Palffy) and the 50-ish D.A. (Purl) made a date to have dinner together, I couldn't help but wonder whether they might discuss a possible romantic future, or perhaps, more likely, her adopting him.
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Must agree in part with caa821
blanche-231 March 2012
IMDb member Caa821 felt the comments were more entertaining than the movie. I think Caa821's comments were more entertaining than the movie.

"Criminal Intent" follows the Lifetime TV template to a 'T': familiar stars (Vanessa Angel and Linda Purl), with the rest of the cast being not only unfamiliar but fairly poor actors; filmed in Canada; derivative; moves slowly; predictable.

Angel plays a defense attorney turned divorce attorney whose good friend is murdered, with the woman's ex-husband being accused. He wants her to go back to her defense roots and represent him, even though she handled their divorce. She agrees and comes up against a tough DA (Purl).

There is a twist in the story, but I don't know who's comparing this to Alfred Hitchcock. The acting is lethargic, and Angel's collagen lips are distracting.

As I mentioned in a previous post, these mindless Lifetime movies are great for a Sunday afternoon or when you're trying to sleep, and they give work to formerly prolific actors like Purl. I have to commend Lifetime for hiring 40+ actresses who find themselves "aged out" of Hollywood.
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