Under InvestigationStarring: Joanna Pacula
Writer director Kevin Meyer's TVM begins with the ritualised murder of a woman to the sound of Caruso singing La Gioconda and the killer painting her body. However after that it's downhill all the way. Meyer gives us Harry Hamlin as a slobby detective in charge of the case, who is unshaven - Hamlin's superior tells him he dresses "like a mechanic" - and presumably depressed after the death of his son and end of his marriage. This information unfortunately doesn't feed into the style of the murder, but rather allows Hamlin to indulge in a lazy performance which includes a tough guy hiss, which de-energises the film. Hamlin's unprofessionalism leads him into an affair with the wife of the case's top suspect, Joanna Pacula, who is another of a series of accented ladies who pronounce his surname Keaton as "kitten". Meyer's screenplay is so cliched that you can predict the oncoming dialogue, features the anomaly of the suspect thinking himself to be the devil but keeps crucifixes for protection, but also one funny line in "His prints were found all around the room which makes sense since he lives there". Meyer's pacing is sluggish, his treatment has repeated and tiresome points scored against Hamlin's partner John Mese who of course embodies everything Hamlin is not, and he gives Hamlin and Pacula some rather graphic sex scenes with Hamlin not Pacula as the object of desire. In spite of her fractured intonation, Pakula at least looks lovely, but it's West Side Story's Richard Beymer who steals the film in a small role as Pakula's colleague, though I could have done without Meyer giving him a shark's head in his office.