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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Performances Help Carry Film

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
26 June 2013

Fatal Honeymoon (2012)

*** (out of 4)

Good made-for-television take on the murder case brought against Gabe Watson (Billy Miller) whose wife Tina (Amber Clayton) drowned while on their honeymoon. The husband's story is that the wife simply sank to the bottom of the ocean but her father (Harvey Keitel) believes that the husband cut off her oxygen supply so that he could get her life insurance. FATAL HONEYMOON is yet another true story brought to us by Lifetime and this one here manages to be quite good thanks in large part to some terrific performances. For the most part the film plays it straight meaning that it never really says Gabe is innocent or guilty. I think the "facts" of the case are so mysterious that it's hard to tell a story one way or the other but at the same time the film had no problems showing Gabe to be a complete jerk so the viewer will certainly have their own opinion on whether he was guilty or not. The film does a very good job at bouncing back and forth with all of the events from the time the two met, to their wedding and eventually their honeymoon, which would leave the wife dead. The film also did a good job showing the events from the grieving father who will stop at nothing to find out what really happened. As I said earlier, the performances are what makes this film work so well. Miller is downright chilling in his role and he's certainly one of the most memorable cold-blooded "killers" I've seen from one of these fact-based dramas. The way Miller plays the coldness is quite memorable. Keitel is also extremely good in the role of the father even though you really don't expect to see someone like him in a movie like this. I thought the actor was quite strong in the scenes where he's trying to find out what happened but also quite touching during the scenes where he's grieving for his daughter. Clayton is also good in her role, although the screenplay really doesn't give her much to do than play the victim. FATAL HONEYMOON features some nice cinematography, a good music score and overall it does a nice job in telling its story.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Too much jumping back and forth

Author: phd_travel from United States
20 June 2013

The story of the Honeymoon killer an Alabama man who brought his wife to the Great Barrier Reef to dive on their honeymoon and she drowned. Did he murder her?

There are some only could be true life twists and turns and ambiguity in the story which makes it compelling.

The main leads are believable not too famous or glamorous but pleasant looking. The big name cast member is Harvey Keitel who looks a lot older than of late but acts movingly.

The story is quite well filmed but jumps back and forth a bit too much - a more chronological telling would have made things more tense and clearer.

Worth a watch.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Excellent portrayal of tragic case

Author: evening1 from United States
4 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If your family dislikes your choice of a mate, think twice before getting married!

That seems to be the message in this better-than-average TV film based on a notorious 2003 case in which an American woman died on her honeymoon while scuba diving off the coast of Australia. Her husband, a dive rescuer, told authorities he had been unable to save her.

Amber Clayton is excellent as Tina, who at first resists the overtures of Gabe (played chillingly by Billy Miller), when they both are students at the University of Alabama at Birmington. Later, there are signs of mistrust when Tina catches Gabe flirting at a party, and, subsequently, when he postpones giving her an engagement ring that he has bought and placed on top of a dresser. Tina doesn't seem to focus much on Gabe's request that she name him as beneficiary on her life insurance before the dive trip.

Generally, this movie seems to portray Tina as suffering from a lack of assertiveness. She's never been fond of water, and at one point, jokes that she appreciates breathing air -- a tragic foreshadowing of the crisis that eventually leads to her death. However, Gabe insists he wants a wife who can share some of his favorite water-based pursuits. The film poignantly depicts Tina savoring land-lubbing activities Down Under -- feeding kangaroos, cuddling a koala -- and wishing they could last.

We also observe Tina in a close relationship with her father, Tommy Thomas, who is played out-of-type but convincingly by the masterful Harvey Keitel. Tommy seems skeptical of Gabe from the start, and a power struggle of enormous proportions starts to build from their first encounter, when Gabe says he's a church-goer but won't tell Tommy where he worships.

There is a fairly complicated storyline here that jumps back and forth between locations and time periods, and sometimes it's a little challenging to keep straight. However, the acting is so strong that that's a minor quibble.

The movie ends on a genuinely disturbing note.

PS: A peek at the Wikipedia entry on this case provides some additional poignant details. Tina died only 11 days into her marriage. She ran into trouble two minutes into her dive. It all took place at the site of one of Australia's worst maritime disasters -- the resting place of the sunken SS Yongala.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fatal Honeymoon: Love With a Faithless Stranger ***

Author: edwagreen from United States
26 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tragic true story of a man who allowed his new wife to die in the sea while diving with her.

Flashbacks reveal a guy who displays a nasty attitude towards her parents before they wed as well as the girl herself. Harvey Keitel steals the picture as the distraught father who could probably kick himself over and over for giving permission for such an ill-fated marriage.

The film is a good one as it shows the injustice of the criminal system. Australia, where the killing took place, is depicted as just in the U.S. where copping a lower plea seems to be par for the course. Ditto in America for our guy being able to escape real justice upon completing his 18 month sentence and returning to the United States. What a travesty of the justice system. Justice was certainly not done here.

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come for the Harvey Keitel performance, stay for the... wait, why stay?

Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
3 June 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Holy ***t. My wife watches Lifetime movies because, well, why not they're mindless garbage that helps to distract from the pains of living in the modern world. And somehow I think that she got me to watch this ONLY because Harvey Keitel is in it. As for the rest of the cast they're... there, for the most part. Sometimes.

I have the vaguest memories of what happened in it, I didn't get on IMDb (like I usually do) and write a comment, and a lot of it - basically a murder takes place while a couple's on their honeymoon (hey it's not false advertising at least) based on a true case - except that Keitel seemed kind of pitiful in a role that involved being the father of someone who is (spoiler) dead, and that its quality is about what you'd expect out of one of these movies.

Because I'm a nut for Keitel I'd say if you have to check it out for him then do so, but it's so hammy and campy and cheesy that you'll have to be in a particular mind-set to appreciate it in order to not turn it off and wish that you were doing other things with your time like mowing the lawn or cleaning the garbage disposal. It tries for some melodrama, but nothing sticks after you're done watching it.

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That Sinking Feeling

Author: wes-connors from Los Angeles
23 September 2015

In a confusing opening, we switch settings without understanding what on Earth is happening. Australia 2003, Alabama two years earlier, and Miami four years later pass quickly. Stay tuned, because it does make sense. The basic story begins when attractive students Billy Miller (as David Gabriel "Gabe" Watson) and Amber Clayton (as Christina "Tina" Thomas) meet at a university in Alabama. They are mutually attracted and hook up. Their foremost characteristics, early on, are that he's a bit of a jerk and she's afraid of water. Eventually, there is a proposal. Her father, Harvey Keitel (as Thomas "Tommy" Thomas) reluctantly gives the couple his blessing. As you can guess by the title, a "Fatal Honeymoon" occurs...

This was very likely based on a true story. It aired near the end of an era when this type of story was very popular on US television. Usually, a good-looking young man took a pretty blonde girl out to some exotic location for nefarious activities. Sensationalist TV commentators like Greta Van Susteren and Nancy Grace would breathlessly report any information or misinformation on the incidents. TV movie adaptations followed. Probably, these stories continue, but they are presently not in vogue. Having Mr. Keitel play a major role lifts the performances; in this case, a rising tide lifts all boats. The production is not below average for a TV drama, but the story is far too subjective and its characters lack substance.

**** Fatal Honeymoon (2012-08-25) Nadia Tass ~ Billy Miller, Harvey Keitel, Amber Clayton, Gary Sweet

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Gold Coast & Sydney are not the GBR

Author: Neil from Australia
11 February 2015

Just watched this movie & as an Australian a few things popped up as I viewed. As the couple head down under for their fateful honeymoon, the opening shot of them frolicking on the sand & sea, is the Gold Coast Queensland. This is approx 1,441 kilometers from the GBR. The following scene sees them in Sydney on a boat complete with view of the famous Sydney harbor Bridge. Tina seen holding Koala later. Sydney is even further away from the Great Barrier Reef @ just under 2,100 kilometers away.

It was not mentioned,why the couple did visit these 2 places before heading North. I guess in the whole scheme of things, it matters the least.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Harvey Keitel?

Author: spwyner-569-31055 from Phoenix, Arizona, United States
25 January 2015

Okay. We all agree it was a tragic story. But only tragic enough to be made into a low budget made for TV movie. And that brings me to my point. This movie shows how you can take a superb and versatile actor as Harvey Keitel, drop him into a low budget movie with a low budget director and absolutely no interesting supporting cast, and he sucks just as if he were one of them. Did Harvey need a quick cash infusion? I know he didn't exactly call in his part. But he nevertheless came off as pathetic. Had the producers chosen to cast an equally unknown and mediocre actor for the father instead of disrupting the story with an A lister subjected to a bad script the story would have been easier take.

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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Routine Murder Drama.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
25 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A perfunctory story of a man who finally marries his Southern fiancée and takes her on a honeymoon to Australia, where she drowns during a Scuba diving tour. The blond girl, who is in love and anxious to be married, is played by Amber Clayton as a kind of lovable airhead. The husband is played by Billy Miller who, lamentably, is burly but has no perceptible neck. Neither of the leads can act, but Clayton has a winsome charm.

Okay, so the wife dies underwater on her honeymoon. One supposes that it does happen. But the problem is that Miller has acted suspiciously before, during, and after the death. He's already shown he has a short temper, what with flinging pizza around at a family dinner. He's tried to talk his fiancée into re-writing her will so that he is the sole beneficiary. And he's bragged about having been a rescue diver.

During the death, there are questions raised about distances swum, directions taken, how much weight the girl was carrying, why this self-designated rescue diver was unable to drag his wife a few yards to the surface, and so on. Harvey Keitel is the girl's father. He's convinced Miller killed his wife, and Keitel is determined to see that justice is done.

In Australia, Miller pleads to negligent homicide, claiming that he panicked. He serves a year and a half in the slams before returning to the states where he is promptly arrested by the FBI. The case is thrown out of court for lack of evidence.

Whatever else he did or didn't do, Miller doesn't seem like a very nice guy. He had his wife's body exhumed and moved to his own family plot. When Keitel and his family leave flowers on the grave, Miller tears them up and throws them in the garbage, an act evidently captured on video by the cops. (I'll have to look it up on YouTube, I guess.) Anyway, the wind up is that Miller is free, marries again to another blond airhead, and apparently lives happily ever after. Did he kill his first wife? The movie certainly wants us to think so. When the body is brought up and Miller is informed that she's dead, he smiles and chuckles openly.

It' a clumsy film. The current proceedings against Miller are periodically interrupted by flashbacks to his courtship and marriage. About five minutes is spent on the rehearsal and the marriage ceremony itself. The transitions aren't simple dissolves. Instead one image fades to white, then the next image slowly appears out of the vapor. It's distracting.

The only really seasoned actor is Harvey Keitel, and he's gotten old and appears fagged out. He has one of those scenes in which he gets bad news, falls to the floor, writhes, and ululates like an animal in pain. Well, Keitel has perfected such scenes, yet he doesn't pull it off well here. Also, he's very hard to believe as a fussy Alabama father.

To call the production average is to be generous.

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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Must See Billy Miller!

Author: ivegonemod from United States
1 September 2012

I'm a big fan of Billy's, loved him on All my children, even tried to watch The Young and the restless for him. He had a short lived roll on Ringer, and was fantastic. I'm looking forward to him becoming a big movie or television star, because he deserves it. He can play intense like so few can, almost as good as James Scott (EJ DiMera) on Days of our lives. Don't let the soap opera star title fool you, these guys are better than A-list movie stars. Billy doesn't let me down here. He plays Gabe in such a horridly good way. You hate Gabe so much and you feel like beating your fist against something hard while watching, but you can't stop watching.

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