Good Morning, Killer

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“And I still don’t know the significance of the title.”

gmkBased on a 2003 novel of the same name by April Smith, I can’t speak to the novel. but this TV movie doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from… Well, from anything else to be honest; the overall impact here, is of a not-exactly superlative episode of one of those three-letter acronym shows Chris enjoys watching [star Bell was part of one such – JAG]. After a young girl is abducted from a shopping mall, FBI special agent Ana Grey (Bell) and her colleagues have to try and locate the perpetrator, who appears to be a previously-unknown serial predator (Jordan), who kidnaps his victims and rapes them over a period of time, tormenting their families with telephone calls, before releasing the traumatized victims with a chilling reminder, “You won’t forget me.” Meanwhile, Ana is having relationship issues, both with her boyfriend, fellow detective Andrew Berringer (Hauser), and a colleague who doesn’t appear to appreciate the need for intra-departmental loyalty.

It’s hard to know quite where to put the blame for this one, but I think it’s mostly on a poorly-written script that, particularly, in the first half, wanders around without focus. If they had established the characters first, on both sides of the case, they could then have incorporated the relationship stuff, but instead, it feels as if you are supposed to care about these people, before the film has given you any reason to do so. Maybe you are supposed to have read the book first? If so, I didn’t get that particular memo. Perhaps it doesn’t help either that this is based on the second Ana Grey book – the first remains unfilmed – an over-zealous attention to remaining faithful to the source may explain why the makers don’t bother to explain as much as they should about who anyone is.

Bell is competent enough, and the second half of the film is generally an improvement, concentrating more on the case and less on the soap-opera bubbles. In particular, the perp’s fondness for taking pictures of his victims during their ordeals, is a chilling element that comes over well in the film. However, there are some glaring loose ends, such as the fate of the homeless man who is, apparently, a key witness, and the climax, which sees Ana taken hostage by the prime suspect, doesn’t exactly provide a great deal of confidence in her abilities as an FBI agent. It seems to be going for a Silence of the Lambs vibe there; it doesn’t come anywhere close, and you can only presume a great deal was lost in translation from page to screen, given this is part of what appears to be a fairly well-regarded series of books.

Dir: Maggie Greenwald
Star: Catherine Bell, James Jordan, Cole Hauser, Genevieve Buechner

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