Hairy detail undermines fair effort, 4 May 2006
Author: cteditor from United States
The 2006 movie Boston Strangler is not a remake of the 1968 movie with that same name, since they have completely different perspectives on the historic basis of the respective stories, although both versions attempt to blend fact and fiction about events in the early to mid 1960s. The 1968 version accepted as fact that Albert DeSalvo, who confessed to the murders of 13 women, was the Boston Strangler. The 2006 movie (which this review will exclusively refer to from now on) raised doubts on whether DeSalvo was the Boston Strangler. The movie is a low-budget, independent film and you can tell it. If a person makes allowances for this, which I am personally willing to do, then the movie has some strong points. The movie is directed by Keith Walley. The character of Albert DeSalvo is played by Mauro Lannini and the character of Detective Riley is played by Jason David. DeSalvo was a real person who confessed to 13 murders and was subsequently murdered in prison. Riley is a fictional creation, used in the movie to raise doubts about the validity of DeSalvo's confession. Lannini gave a chillingly believable performance as DeSalvo and David gave a strong performance as a skeptical police detective. For the most part, the less important characters were portrayed in an adequate manner, although there were some lines that were delivered in a stiff manner and a few lines were overdone. Close to the end, the back story about Riley jerks ahead twice, giving insufficient information about what is going on. If we're given this fictional subplot, then it needed to be developed better. There are two anachronisms in this period piece that jumped out at me. In one scene, a character said, "They're all looking for their 15 minutes," an apparent reference to a statement by Andy Warhol made in 1968, three years after the time of the statement in the movie. I confess that I had to look up the time of Warhol's statement and it is a trivial point. To some people, the other anachronism might also be trivial but I found it highly annoying. The time of Detective Riley's first appearance in the movie was identified as March 1965, slightly more than a year after the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show, shocking most adults with their not-quite-shoulder-length hair. Not only did Detective Riley have longer hair than the Beatles wore on Ed Sullivan, it was highly styled. This would be roughly the equivalent today of a police officer showing up for duty wearing purple spiked hair and a red rubber clown nose. This bothered me so much through the movie that it lowered my estimation of the movie from fair to mediocre.