|Index||10 reviews in total|
Lifetime Television's "The Two Mr. Kissels," based on the true story of
two murdered brothers, stars John Stamos as Andrew Kissel, Anson Mount
as Robert Kissel, and Robin Tunney as Robert's wife, Nancy. Somehow, a
fascinating story was rendered fairly uninteresting by the script. With
better writing, this might have been a compelling, old-fashioned
two-parter, as there is certainly enough material out there.
The Kissel brothers were wealthy and seemingly successful young men - Robert was a brilliant businessman whose career had an upward trajectory. Unfortunately, he married a narcissistic money-grubber (Tunney) who falls for a cable guy (in real life a stereo repairman) and decides she's better off with all of the cash and no husband. Andrew could have been a successful entrepreneur, but he needed to come up to par with his brother and make a big splash. He becomes a cocaine-addicted, womanizing con artist, married to a successful woman who truly loves him and turns a blind eye to his shady deals and late nights.
The murders of both men are handled well, but one never gets a strong sense of the relationship between the two brothers or any handle on the character of Robert. John Stamos does a good job with the material, but the best role in the film belongs to Robin Tunney as Nancy. She's excellent. It's really the only fleshed out part in the film.
There was a good deal more that went on in this real-life saga, including in court. In the end, I felt that the script let down what should have been a fascinating story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The film rapidly goes down in quality despite the interesting subject
matter and some very good acting here.
The story again relates to the time old adage that money is the root of all evil.
The Kissel Brothers seemed to have had in made with their propensity for making money. Their lives took a turbulent path because of their financial success.
Robert was the better of the two; of course, being a work-a-holic, it cost him his marriage and ultimately his life. His wife Nancy is brilliantly played by an up and coming actress. How she thought that she could get away with killing him is beyond belief.
Andrew, on the other hand, who is played quite well by John Stamos, was hell-bent on a path of self-destruction. Embezzling from his own co-op building and others, he was destined to meet his end in the way he did.
The individual flashbacks by those within the brothers orbit doesn't work well here. In fact, it makes the film uneven and disjointed at times.
Nonetheless, this is an interesting film to view again due to the subject matter.
I hope there will be another Kissel movie out there. I read two books about the Kissel Brothers. I felt that Robin Tunney gave the best performance as unhinged Nancy Kissel. You hated her one minute and felt sorry for her in the next minute. She felt like property than a wife. It is true that her father-in-law looked down upon his daughter-in-law from day one. The two hour film which is really only 90 minutes plus a few couldn't unfold the events that led to the downfalls of both Kissel brothers. Robert Kissel was the good brother who succeeded in the financial world and even landed a job in Hong Kong but was troubled by an unstable wife. Andrew Kissel played by John Stamos is the only other standout performance in the film. He is both troubled and devious in deceiving his investors of the actual losses. Their spouses aren't as memorable as Nancy and Andrew. Maybe they should have gotten together in the first place but it would be a deadly combination. Sadly, since it is based on the true Kissel story. I felt that there wasn't enough details but only hints of Nancy and Andrew's falls.The film comes across as disjointed with people like Hayley, Andrew's wife, and his driver giving a statements along with other Hong Kong wives who were expatriates whose husbands and never came home to the Parkview complex. Nancy's crimes were brought on by a combination of things and a culmination of despair and utter desperation. Nancy was tired of being Robert's wife. Robert tried to buy her happiness but nothing worked. She was miserable in Hong Kong and the only light was a cable guy in New England. The Kissels' sister spoke about maybe if she didn't meet the cable guy or that there were too many maybes. The tragedy of the Kissel family is well-documented in books. I felt sorry for both Nancy and Andrew who longed for happiness, love, and acceptance. Nancy felt out of place with her in-laws easily.
Some very good individual scenes here, and an excellent performance from John Stamos (not so with Robin...who is just terribly miscast in this one)....however the whole is not as good as it's individual parts. Based on a true story, I had seen several documentaries about this really amazing case (Two brothers on separate Continent's are both murdered). Those documentaries are extremely fulfilling. This TV drama only touches on the highlights of the tragedies. Unfortunately, the wealth of material that was available to the writer wasn't used properly. Yes, as I've said, some VERY good, and well researched scenes. However, this TV movie basically only has acted sections of what really happened. Unfortunately, if you don't know enough about the case itself....this film won't make too much sense. But what is there is good....it's just not enough. Investigate the case before you see the film, and I'm sure you will agree.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS*** Sad but true story of two nice Jewish boys who got in
over their heads in both finance and marriage and ended up dead because
of it. It was Bob Kissel who got the short end of the stick in marrying
fashion model Nancy Keeshin who as it turned out was as nutty as a
fruitcake and deadly as a black mamba.
Having and affair with the handsome cable guy Tony Pellicoro Nancy planned to get rid of Bob while the two were living in Hong Kong with Bob a top man there at Meryill Lynch. Spiking Bob's strawberry milkshake Nancy had him pass out and then bludgeon him to death before he had a chance to wake up. No criminal mastermind Nancy, using at her trail a combination insanity and memory loss defense, was soon arrested and convicted in Bob's murder and given a life sentence without parole. That life sentence was upheld in a re-trial making her planned life with Tony, and her dead husbands money, a pipe dream on her part.
As for Andrew he went into real estate fraud as well as getting himself addicted on cocaine that ended with him blowing all his money, some 30 million dollars worth, as well as his marriage to former TV finance commentator Hayley Wolff. As we saw at the beginning of the movie Andrew as found stabbed to death with his good friend and personal driver Juan Castillo as the prime suspect in his murder. In was Juan's brother not Juan who was arrested and stood trial for for it.
As we began to see what Andrew did to end up getting himself dead it could have well have been anyone in the entire city of New York and its surroundings who did Andrew in since he screwed, out of their money and life savings, just about everyone he came in contact with, even his late brother Bob. Gloriously drunk and about to be evicted from his rented $14,000.00 a month Greenwich Connecticut mansion, With his wife Hayley and the kids leaving him, Andrew somehow got himself killed or murdered before the final curtain came down on him.
Sad but typical story of greed and murder in the swinging 1990's and and early 21th century when money was the only thing worth living, and in the case of the Kissel Boys and especially Bob Kissel's crazy wife Nancy, killing for. It was Andrew and Nancy who are the real true life villains in the movie and what did the two get in all the stealing conniving and, in the case of Nancy, murdering that they did in trying to get rich quick without working for it. And early grave and lifetime stay behind bars, at the Hong Kong Women's Prison, for all their troubles.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is par for the course that the convicted murderer gets demonised and
her victim whitewashed, but I presume there was a lot more to their
relationship than the movie portrayed. According to Nancy, both
brothers were on Cocaine.
As far as I could make out, the film was shot cheaply with mostly fixed indoor shots and stage backdrops. Not only did the film crew not even bother to visit Hong Kong (stock footage was apparently used) they didn't research what it is like to live in Hong Kong either.
So as someone who does live here, let me put the record straight. Yes, Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 but it has a separate jurisdiction rather like the US Virgin Islands. We do not use the Chinese currency - as displayed on Kissel's desk when he came home from work - we use the Hong Kong Dollar. Hong Kong is NOT an endless collection of Skyscapers like Manhanttan - its more like New York, with distinct suburbs. The Kissels lived in an airy apartment with sweeping views of mountains and sea.
The producer obviously got his impression of Hong Kong jail cells from Mexican B movies. Totally wrong. There is no graffiti in Hong Kong cells - they are closer in comfort and design to Marine Corps boot camp blocks than anything else. Prison guards (a lot nicer than drill pigs) assigned to look after foreigners can speak English. As in the States, prisoners are given work assignments and recreation time to keep the them busy - they don't just rot away. The prison where she is located is in one of the most scenic areas of Hong Kong - but I don't know what her view is like.
Oh - and all the lawyers were British - that must have confused a few. This bit is somewhat correct (there are also Chinese lawyers). Hong Kong was formerly a British Colony and UK citizens were permitted by the handover agreement to stay on in their jobs until retirement. In addition, the legal system remains British in character (Common law like the US) - not Chinese.
The logo behind the judge is a ridiculous imitation of the Hong Kong Government Device - looks more like BP's logo.
So I'm afraid I just couldn't look past the ignorance of the film makers and enjoy the movie.
Firstly, I know about the subject matter. It is based on a true story and many of the main characters are real people (this is a docudrama) and some have different names. The characters resemble the actual people but look nothing like the real people involved and some of the facts are altered or left out. I'm not sure if this is because of potential liability or threatened legal action or the producers only used the actual events as a jumping-off point and didn't think they were doing a documentary, so accuracy was not tantamount. Also, the time line was cleaned up and made easier to understand because there were other issues that were not included (Nancy's father planned on taking care of Robert's kids and then her brother wanted to care for them, etc.) so if you're watching this thinking this is all the way it was or were not familiar with the actual events, please understand there is a lot more information that was not included or was altered, so the movie is not accurate. The producers and the writer work around this by calling the movie a docudrama, which means as long as it has some truth to it, then that's okay but some details were basically mis-represented in any event.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'd remembered the "milkshake murder" of this case from the news so I
figured I'd give this Lifetime movie a shot. It wasn't bad but it
certainly wasn't great.
I guess they were trying to attract a certain audience, but one element that ran distractingly for me throughout was the tender age of both the male leads. Weren't both the Kissels middle-aged when they were murdered? The talking-head format used throughout as if to conjure a documentary-type mood didn't add a great deal and eventually became a distraction. Also, these heads were not wearing makeup and sometimes it was hard to connect the head with the character in the story.
The film left many important questions unanswered. Why did the Hong Kong-based Kissel put all that money into spying on his wife only to trust her in the end and drink the milkshake? And what led his wife to believe she could get away with his pummeling? She's given a lot of screen time but was left almost totally opaque as a character.
The ending of the movie, involving the Greenwich-based Kissell, seemed an unclear afterthought. We needed more information to understand how a man with lots of enemies could end up dead -- with his trustworthy chauffeur being charged in his murder!
If you don't mind a fact-based movie that raises questions but leaves many unanswered -- with a large dose of soap-operatic melodrama as stuffing -- this movie works OK as a distraction.
This just released on TV gave the viewers a treat in the performances
and script. A mystery, although it's pretty obvious as to what will
happen from the beginning. In fact in the promos of the film you sort
of know what's ahead. The two Mr. Kissels are played by Anson Mount and
John Stamos. Like the good and bad brothers. Cain and Able. One tries
to compete with the other in life, love and happiness. First one gets
married then the other. But the wives are reversed in good and bad.
Anson marries a witch, played by the not so attractive Robin Tunney,
who is out for all she can get. You do wonder why this nice looking guy
would not only fall for the likes of Tunney, but why he would put up
with her. Most guys would have dropped her fast. She looked like
Dracula's daughter. Then Stamos married a beauty who is all for him and
he screws up all he way.
You put these four together and sooner or later it all falls apart. I felt bad for Anson and the gal who played the other wife, don't know her name. Stamos and Tunney earned their fates.
Both Stamos and Mount did good jobs. A big departure for Stamos who usually plays the nice guy. Mount is new to me and should go far in his career. Tunney, you want to forget. Bad casting and not that pretty to look at.
The Two Mr. Kissels is quite possibly the worst TV movie I have ever
seen. Without a doubt, the commercial interruptions were the high
points of the experience.
The script was ridiculous, the acting flat and the direction useless. I waited and listened to useless dialog hoping for the film to take some direction. It never happened.
I wish I could cite some worthwhile attribute of this film. Unfortunately there was none
In spite of the boredom, I hung in for the entire horrid experience. The only relief came when the end titles appeared! This trash is not worth one moment of anyone's time!
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