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In June 2011, when it was confirmed Lifetime was creating a film based on Drew Peterson and announced Rob Lowe would play the title character I was perplexed yet optimistic. When pictures of him in uniform were released in the middle of July I grew even more skeptical, at the same time keeping intrigued. The picture looked more like a parody than anything. It was also said that Lowe had to spend around six hours in the makeup chair before he could play Peterson. I guess Tim Allen wasn't available.
Drew Peterson: Untouchable is an acceptable and passable effort at a film adaptation of one of the most talked about missing cases in a while. Being that this is a Lifetime film, it inevitably feels very limited in its script. For example, if had been a direct-to-DVD film, of even theatrically released for that matter, the film would've likely gone further in the one on one conversations with the characters, the violence, and even in the language. Instead, we get the cringe-inducing line "I'm untouchable, bitch" said with blunt honesty by Peterson late in the film.
The film documents Peterson's sour relationship with his third wife, Kathleen Savio, and her mysterious death when she was found in an empty bathtub. At the time of her death, Savio and Peterson were divorced and while she was single, he was living with his new wife Stacy Peterson. The day of the court hearing settling the divorce, Peterson and a locksmith found her dead.
After marrying Stacy, the two had another kid, contributing to Drew's two sons, and continued living like normal people. One day, Stacy vanished with no explanation except for Drew's "incorruptible" word that she was cheating on him. She left everything; her kids, money, etc. At the time of her disappearance, it was said that her and Drew were fighting and not getting along.
This wouldn't surprise me because the media has informed us many times that Peterson was a controlling and manipulative husband. Rob Lowe documents it very well. Still, the violence seems incredibly tame, yet still a little reaching for a TV movie. The acting, script, and direction are all in good hands and all contribute nicely to the story. Although the writing is about as good as you'll get, it still moves a bit too fast, sometimes only picking out the key points in events, most likely to cut down on length.
There isn't a plethora to say about Untouchable except it tells a story with intelligence and believability despite clear limitations in the substance. In a world where TV movies can be an absolute travesty on the film, Drew Peterson: Untouchable is enjoyable, factual, and sheds light on a big missing case that still has more questions than answers.
Starring: Rob Lowe. Directed by: Mikael Salomon.
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