Sunday, August 29, 2010

Prescription For Murder

(Clarke Mackey, 1987)
The first thing you notice about this made for TV drama is the deftness of the scenes among the nurses, displaying a surprising depth and detail of characterization; the small talk and camaraderie are so felt that you suspect writer Rebecca Schechter has spent her share of time on the delivery ward. More time than she spent hanging around with cops anyway; the interrogation scenes are laughable victims of stupid detective syndrome, and the courtroom procedural that follows from them are a nightmare of generic imposition, with the director clearly as bored as anyone. Since we now require a hero, Kate Lynch's conflicted daddy's girl gets to ponder her personal moral dilemma as a wholly unsatisfying replacement for the ensemble. While her later scenes with jaded hubby Saul Rubinek and working lout Sean McCann are more responsive and patient than usual for this kind of project, the investigative narrative remains so stilted and remote that the multi-plane talkover bits that keep popping up between testimonies eventually reveal themselves as a showy directorial tic. And while they may think that the trick ending underlines the theme of individual responsibility, it cheats it instead. By cutting to credits at the big moment, the filmmakers relieve Lynch's grand moral gesture of all content and repercussion, not only letting her character off multiple hooks but also leaving more than half of their own story untold.

No comments:

Post a Comment