Criminal Intent (2005 TV Movie)
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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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.