A Kind of Murder
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Directed by Andy Goddard
Dec 16, 2016
Walter Stackhouse is a successful architect trapped in a marriage that's crumbling in on him. His wife, Clara, suffers from nervous breakdowns, and refuses to seek help. She’s prone to jealous fits, imagining him tangled in affairs that just aren’t any part of reality, and has attempted suicide on more than one occasion. At night, Walter finds a form of escape at his typewriter, writing crime stories for literary magazines. He clips lurid articles from the newspapers, keeping them as inspiration for his fiction. One day he comes across one about a man whom the police suspect killed his wife and may possibly get with it, and he entertains a certain guilty fantasy. Finally, one of Clara’s rages does drive him into the arms of another woman, and naturally, things don’t look good for Walter when his wife’s body is found beneath a bridge…
Set in the cold winter of an early '60s New York, the swanky homes and well-cut fashion on display make A Kind of Murder into something of Mad Men-era murder mystery. (The presence of Vincent Kartheiser, a.k.a. Pete Campbell, as an obsessive homicide detective only increases the urge to draw comparisons.) Adapted from an early novel by master thriller writer Patricia Highsmith (author of The Talented Mr. Ripley, Strangers on a Train, Carol) and directed with a keen sense for pacing by Andy Goddard, A Kind of Murder is a tense little period noir, the type of which arrived in droves throughout the genre’s ‘40s and ‘50s golden era but you just don’t see much anymore. Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel play the central couple, Walter and Clara, the former tasked with finding balance in a character who warrants sympathy even when he may be potentially guilty of a heinous crime. Haley Bennett and Eddie Marsan round out the cast. A Kind of Murder keeps viewers guessing and comes highly recommended to crime film fans; in particular, to those with an itch for something old-fashioned.
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 6/10
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