When one of Susan's former patients, a news reporter, turns up dead on the outskirts of Wheaton, the cocaine capitol of Massachusetts, she and Spenser head out to Wheaton to find out why he...
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When one of Susan's former patients, a news reporter, turns up dead on the outskirts of Wheaton, the cocaine capitol of Massachusetts, she and Spenser head out to Wheaton to find out why he was killed, with Hawk tagging along, and end up getting involved with Felipe Esteva, the head of the cocaine smuggling ring who has the entire town in his pocket.Written by
Jeff Cross <email@example.com>
Poor acting. Implausible story. The book can't be this bad.
I wanted to stop watching this movie after the first 5 minutes but felt that I had a duty to humanity to view it all so that I could write a review and perhaps save others from wasting an hour and a half. To reward me, since you don't know me, please perform some random act of kindness and dedicate it to old Rationalist. To honor me appropriately and consistent with my effort here, please make that act negative rather than positive. For instance, don't praise a shopkeeper for a lovely display, complain about the lack of a bike rack.
One reason I feel compelled to warn others about this valueless film is that I borrowed it from my local library. The video collection is heavily weighted toward foreign and art-house type films, which I like. The general releases are movies generally considered classics or adaptations of literature with some merit. So, I relied on the judgment of the Pasadena Library acquisition deciders to select this movie. Once again they failed me.
Spenser: Pale Kings is marred by second rate acting to a degree I found distracting. It's not horrible acting, just second rate. Since I was watching the film with consciously critical eyes I discovered something rather special. The acting is remarkably consistently second rate. It's not like the usual situation, in films like other things, where the quality varies. The acting is neither amateurish nor competent, it's just second rate, with a couple exceptions. Alex Carter who plays the state trooper, Lundquist, did capable journeyman level work. Beatriz Pisano who plays Juanita is either a terrible actor or the unfortunate victim of so much psychological damage she is incapable of expressing any sincere human emotion.
The author of the novel upon which this is based may be a good writer, but whoever wrote this script is not. I suspect that the director, and others, share the responsibility for a story that is made up of details that cover the entire range from improbable to implausible. A glaring example is the relationship that Spenser and his girlfriend have with the wife of the police chief. The chief's wife is hostile and antagonistic, as is the chief. After he is killed, she responds to the girlfriend's offer of sympathy and they instantly become friends and confidantes although nothing happened to explain such a remarkable transformation and there were no hints earlier to prepare us. It's jarring that this loyal wife would react this way to the people who are hounding her husband rather than regard them with even greater suspicion. The book must be much better. The viewer would be hard pressed to recognize any human interaction in this movie as one they have seen in real life.
There are some rants in the film about the evil of ethnic stereotyping. That happens in the context of investigating a crime in an old New England mill town with a large number of immigrants from Latin America. The film-makers show how they come out on that issue by portraying all the Hispanic characters as criminals, liars, or whores. Maybe they were trying to cover all bases by appealing to both bigots and decent people.
The one positive comment I was planning to make was that it showed some attractive New England locales, but I was wrong. While researching this review I learned it was shot in Canada. This film has some nice shots of Paris, Ontario in 1993. If you don't want to see that, do something else with 90 minutes of your life.
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