The Bottom Line: "And I wonder if you know What it means to find your dreams" ~Siffre, Labi; West, Kanye
Murderland, by definition, is when someone is so engrossed in a murder that they almost enter a realm of obsession. When they enter Murderland, everything else in their life becomes secondary until they come to grips with the solution of the crime. That is what they tried to portray in this mini-series, Murderland. It was originally released on TV, carries no rating and no awards. There is no director listed for this film although there are a boatload of producers.
The story: Told in three parts, we are investigating the murder of a prostitute. Her daughter, Carrie, is the one that found the body and she is the one that has entered the realm of Murderland. She is joined, reluctantly, by the lead investigator to the crime, D,I, Hain, who has a secret of his own.
The movie opens with Carol, about to be married, running away on her wedding day and turning up in front of an abandoned house. We soon discover Carol is the adult girl who used to be known as Carrie. It is 15 years later and her desire to solve her mother's murder has never gone away and she shows up on the doorstep of D.I. Hain, who has since retired from the police force.
~Carrie's story~ Carrie, a young teen, returns home from a party to find her mother stabbed to death. It is a violent scene she walks into, then she sees a man's shadow on the wall and a blood stained hand. Before she left for the party, she saw a man's tennis shoes at the top of the stairs but her mother scooted her out stating he was just a friend. What Carrie doesn't know is her mother is a prostitute and when D.I. Hain is forced to tell her the truth, she denies it at first then staunchly demands to help with the investigation.
~Hain's Story~ Hain is almost plodding like, seeming to grasp the idea of a crime but stumbling through life. A large oaf of a person, we find he carries little respect around the station house. Hain's secret, although most of his fellow officers know it, is that he had a relationship with Sally, the murdered prostitute, loved her in fact. Sally worked out of a massage parlor and Hain used an inside source there to find out information about a shady character he believes is involved in multiple crimes. Perhaps even Sally's murder. He is extremely reluctant to help Carol solve the crime especially when she decides to go undercover as a prostitute to see if she can get answers.
~Sally's story~ Sally is a dreamer. She believes in a couple of months she will be able to leave her tawdry life behind her and begin anew in Florida with Carrie & Hain.
The story evolves in different stages. We view the night of the killing through all three, learning different circumstances each time. Some extremely damning information comes out about Hain and Carol has to lean to deal with the truth and her own life.
The actors: Basically there are three main characters that encompass the entire movie. Even Sally, the slain mother, doesn't have that large of a part. Bel Powley plays the young Carrie with much better detail and dedication than Amanda Hale did as the older Carol. Robbie Coltrane was Douglas Hain, the detective. He is obviously a more seasoned actor, having appeared in a slew of work dating back to 1974. Although it states he is a well known comedian, most of the work I've seen of him in other films, and this one, were more dramatic.
DVD extras: none
Overall impression: While I liked the idea of seeing the murder from three different view points, it became a bit repetitive at times. As each character went into their story, they replayed the entire thing all over again. Basically you could have started and stopped with Sally's story, since it was the final one, and still have known all that was going on.
I thought Carol's character was a bit too flat for someone that was so immersed in discovering the truth. Not that she didn't put herself out there, being a prostitute herself and all, but at the end of the day it was just "so what". Hain's character was more detailed and had more depth to it.
Nothing great to be said about transfer to DVD from the original production. There were the obligatory pauses that stood in for commerical breaks. The lighting and sound was fine although I always find British productions so quiet and the speaking a little hard to understand. They speak softly but fast.
I might watch it again, if prompted, but I wouldn't go out of my way to search it out. It just seemed to drag along in many parts.
Thanks to Mona, movie CL, for adding this to the database for me.