When Michael Francke, a senior US state official, is found stabbed through the heart, his brother Kevin is initially more than willing to leave the investigation to the police. But when the police seem to be turning their back on vital clues, Kevin decides to become more involved and follows up leads himself with the help of a private investigator. A man already in prison is eventually named as the prime suspect, but Kevin is convinced that it is a cover-up and strives to prove it, being thwarted at every turn by the police. Will he ever find his brother’s killer?
The unfortunately named Scott Plank stars as Kevin Francke. He gives a fairly competent performance as a brother determined to find his brother’s killer. That is about as enthusiastic as I can get. He doesn’t really do anything wrong, he just doesn’t stand out in any way, apart from a really dodgy 90s hairstyle (the film was made in 1995). I think part of the problem is that the role is really one-dimensional – I certainly didn’t feel that I got to know him in any shape or form and I found it hard to feel any kind of sympathy for him. He is given a love interest in the form of Liz (Anna Gunn), but the relationship is glossed over so much that it doesn’t really make much difference.
Although I am not particularly a fan of Angelina Jolie, I did buy the film because she is marketed as being the ‘star’ of the film. She does appear in it a few times, but to be honest, the only reason she is on the front cover is because she is so well-known, while the rest of the cast are virtually nobodies. I was impressed by what I saw of her though. She plays a seriously mixed up teenager who is trying to escape being locked up, and I found her completely believable. She doesn’t look as attractive as usual though – she looks as if she is on drugs – so any lads wanting to watch purely for the eye candy may be disappointed.
This film is based on a true story; in fact, the film was made because there are still questions about Michael Francke’s death and someone, presumably his brother, wanted to raise awareness of this fact. At the end of the film, a script comes up offering one million dollars for any information that leads to a conviction. If it wasn’t for this fact, I would totally pan this film. As a plot, it is rubbish, purely because very little happens and the film ends up going precisely nowhere, and very little effort is made to persuade the viewer to root for the good guys. However, knowing it is at least based on fact, I did find it a lot more palatable. It is still not good though.
I am not entirely sure whether I missed several things out of boredom (there were times when my eyes started to glaze over) or there are massive plot holes, but I did really struggle to follow the plot. Something would happen, or a new character would appear, seemingly without any explanation. It didn’t mean that I had no idea what was going on, but I would certainly have been happier if it had made sense. I could have lived with it though had the ending not completely ruined things. It just stopped, very abruptly. No explanation, that was it. I realise that life is often abrupt and unexpected, but when I’m watching a film, based on reality or not, I expect a bit more information.
Another really off-putting factor is the music. I rarely notice music in a film – in general, I am too busy concentrating on what is going on to pay much attention to the background music. However, in this case, I noticed it because I really didn’t like it. It sounded very disjointed and jarring, and generally gave a very cheap feel to the whole thing. Even worse was the out of synch lip-synching and the terrible quality of sound at the beginning of the film. I suspect that the film was re-released because of the open case, but little time or energy was spent on adjusting the quality, and it really shows.
I only paid pennies for this film, so am not that disappointed by the poor quality. However, I certainly wouldn’t recommend spending any more than that – in fact, it is probably worth waiting until some wet and windy Bank Holiday when the TV producers decide to show it on TV, hoping that the public will be fooled into thinking it is half-way decent because of Angelina’s presence. And that’s only if you really don’t believe me when I say this film is rubbish! Seriously, don’t bother, it stinks.