Northern Lights (TV Movie 2009) Poster

(2009 TV Movie)

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Paint by numbers
Leofwine_draca15 February 2011
This workmanlike adaptation of a Nora Roberts novel doesn't have much to recommend it, unless you're a sucker for cosy mystery yarns. There's the usual amalgamation of tragedy, skeletons in the closet, romance, obsession and a murderer and nothing much new to get excited about. I liked the snowy backdrop to the action but didn't care much for the square-jawed simpleton hero, Eddie Cibrian, and his cold-as-ice love interest Leann Rimes. Ironically, the two actors fell in love while filming, but they have zero chemistry on screen.

Rosanna Arquette appears, but is unrecognisable from earlier in her career, having gone under the knife. I'm not a guy who can usually spot the identity of the murderer in these sorts of films, but he was glaringly obvious here, even to me, right from the very beginning, so it was a chore to keep watching.
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Murder mystery in small town Alaska (filmed in Canada).
TxMike23 August 2020
I have been a LeAnn Rimes fan since she was a young girl singing country songs with her big voice. So I watched this movie because she has a starring role. The other main actor is Eddie Cibrian. As the movie moved along I began to remember the controversy that played out in the tabloids back in 2010 or so. The two actors met making this movie, each was married to someone else. They had an affair, they each divorced their spouses in 2010 and then married each other in 2011. I suppose it is good that they have so far stayed married.

LeAnn is Meg Galligan, one of two bush pilots in this small community. Her dad disappeared 15 years earlier, assumed to have just run away, but the discovery of his body in a cave on the side of a mountain led to the realization he had been murdered back then and the cold preserved his body.

Eddie is Nate Burns who fled his community 3000 miles away back East to take the job as Sheriff. Naturally Meg and Nate hit it off but he gets involved in the bigger task of trying to solve a 15-yr-old murder.

The overall story is not that bad but the script is sorely lacking, most of the characters say and do things that often just don't ring true. Still LeAnn is good, my wife and I enjoyed it as light entertainment. On DVD from our public library.
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An appealing TV drama.
michaelRokeefe27 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Janet Brownell adapts Nora Roberts' novel for a Lifetime Network presentation. Nate Burns(Eddie Cibian)accepts a job as chief of police in Lunacy, Alaska hoping to to get away from thoughts of the traumatic death of his partner back in Baltimore. Things are boding well until Nate meets a feisty, independent and easy on the eyes bush pilot Meg Galligan(LeAnn Rimes). She has her own demons to battle; but things look promising when romantic sparks fly when around the town's new lawman. Lunacy is shocked when the body of Meg's father is found in a mountain cave. Everyone in town seems to be one of the dead man's friends, but Burns actually thinks someone in town is a killer. Now he must back up and prove his inclinations.

There are some scenes of Rimes half-nude in bed; and that is getting pretty far away from her near squeaky clean reputation.Also in the cast: Rosanna Arquette, Greg Lawson and Stephen Huszar.
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A chilling tale
sol-kay23 March 2009
(There are Spoilers) Not much ever happened in the town of Lunacy Alaska until its new head of the police, which consists of only one man deputy Otto Gruber, ex-Baltimore cop Nate Burns arrived.

Handsome and sure of himself Nate had no trouble at all scoring with the towns two hottest gals mother and daughter Charlene & Meg Galloway. In fact it was the hot and sexy, as well as twenty years younger, Meg who got to Nate heart first before her mom-Charlene-even started warming up in the bullpen. All this fooling around turned sour later in the movie when Meg and Charlene's estranged father and common law husband Pat Galloway was found, in a search for two missing local teenagers, frozen stiff with an ax stuck in his chest in a cave on the snow covered Mount No Name.

As it soon turned out Pat who was thought to have left Lunecy, as well as Charlene & Meg, some fifteen years ago in 1994 was in fact murdered by someone in town who, from all the evidence available, had in in for him. Nate soon starts to realize that the murdered Pat Galloway had been involved with the towns newspaper-The Lunatic-editor Max Hansbacker who he gave,just before he was murdered in November 1994, $3,000.00 to start up the paper.

Max who was anything but cooperative with Nate in finding out who murdered Pat is later found dead in his office with a bullet in his head and a suicide note admitting him being the person who murdered Pat. What we, in the audience, knew is that Max was totally innocent of Pat's murder because we saw, in shadow, Pat's actual killer blow Max's brains out!

Nate in trying to find out who murdered both Pat & Max ends up being resented by the townspeople, from lunacy's woman mayor A. Hopp on down, for him an outsider giving the locals a hard time in trying to do his job. The killer himself tries to get Nate killed by laying moose meat outside Meg's house, where Nate was having an affair with her,and enticing a giant brown bare to attack and kill him. In the end Nate who by then was fired from his job did solve Pat Galloway's murder and bring his killer to justice. That all took place after a wild shootout during a parade down Maine Street celebrating the 209th-back in 1805-anniversary of the towns founding.

Lukewarm, in the frozen north country, murder mystery that was about as stiff and the stiff, Pat Galloway, the movie was centered on. As for Nate's deep emotional problems, stemming from him being a cop in Baltimore, they didn't seem to effect his work at all until, bad news travels fast, they finally caught up with him. As it turned out all Nate had to do was pick up the phone and call home, back in Baltimore, and all would be forgiven.
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I think I just lost a couple of IQ points because of that film
Jackbv1236 September 2017
That's a quote from after Nate was watching a movie, but it pretty much applies to this film.

The story is passable for a mystery and romance.

The acting, however is bad. It is stiff and lacks feeling. There is no real chemistry between Nate and Meg. LeAnn Rimes just never seems sincere in any of her lines. There was very little humor, although I did like the scene with Nate talking to the dog and him talking back. I think the directing had a lot to do with all of that and the climatic scene was very badly staged.

If you can stand lifeless acting, the story might be enough to make this movie worth watching.
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Murder In Lunacy Is Enjoyable.
Stephen_A_Abell15 May 2017
The surprising thing about this movie is the quality of the cast and the acting within. I was mostly surprised by Leann Rimes who can hold her own in the female lead here and fits in well. I've heard her superb vocal ability and never knew she has thespian talents also, based on this film I would quite happily watch anything else she's done.

The only cringeworthy scene was when Meg Galligan (Leeann Rimes) tells her mother Charlene (Rosanna Arquette) that her father, Charlene's true love, is dead. Arquette goes way over the top at this news and totally wrecks the scene; though to be fair, Mike Robe who directed should've stepped in to give her some better direction and tone down the theatrics a little - sometimes less can be better.

That said, the rest of the film is very well acted by all, though I have to say Jayne Eastwood who portrays Mayor Hopp is on top form. I first saw her in Haven as the no-nonsense coroner, and she has the same kind of believable tenacity in this role also, a joy to watch as she brought a smile to my face.

Robe does a decent job of keeping the mystery and suspense rolling as the story of the new Chief Of Police Nate Burns (Eddie Cibrian) in Lunacy, Alaska finds he has a fifteen-year-old murder case to solve; worse yet, the murder victim is his love interests, father; worst still, it seems that most of Lunacy could be the potential killer. You're never too sure as the viewer as not many clues are given, in fact, you have to be pretty observant and quick-sighted to spot and remember a certain scene to work out the killer's identity before the Chief of Police. The resolve of the story is quick, it may have been better to slow this section down and create a little more tension.

Not having read the Nora Roberts novel I cannot say how well it's been adapted, though in its own right Janet Brownell the Teleplay writer does give the audience one hell of a story filled with believable and interesting characters.

If you like murder mysteries then you should like this one, it is definitely a curl-up with your loved one on a Sunday afternoon movie, while the world passes by outside. Worth at least one viewing.
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Death by Moosemeat
vranger28 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
*** Spoiler Alert *** My wife is a devoted Nora Roberts fan, and so I have done my duty as a faithful and loving husband to DVR and watch all of these movies with her.

From the husband's perspective, they're not terrible, but I certainly hope that the plotting in the books themselves hold up better than some of the plotting in the movie adaptations.

In this one, early on we get two boys out hiking and finding a body. Do they take note of the spot and hike home to notify someone? No, one stays with the body while the other hangs around a clearing on a mountainside to flag down the search plane.

Seriously folks ... not going to happen that way.

The acting and parts of the mystery were OK for a good while, and then we get to: Attempted murder by HANGING MOOSE MEAT (read with loud ponderous voice).

That got my eyes rolling to the point where the rest of the movie was hard to pay attention to.

Shooting it out with the bad guy during the middle of a parade, as this ending had it, was a bit hard to take too. This is not a town that was easy to get out of. The guy didn't know yet that he'd been nailed as "the guy". So of course officers would have simply waited until after the parade, keeping him in sight, and quietly arrested him later in his office.

I think the sheer volume of movies of this type (and/or novels of this type) mean that writers have to try to push a bit to get something different into their story. That is a fine sentiment, but not when 'what is different' defies any logic whatsoever.

This is not a knock on Nora. As I said, my wife devours everything she writes, and my wife is an educated, professional, and intelligent woman ... so the books can't be doing too much of this. The movie sure did, however.
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Not Oscar material but enough to keep my interest
headhunter4622 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Having never read Nora Roberts version, I came to this movie with an open mind. A few other reviewers have found numerous faults with this movie but to be fair to it, this movie dealt with so many issues that honestly do affect people in real life. Guilt. Blame. Feeling of being deserted by parents. Uncommitted love. Greed.

My spoilers are very mild and should not ruin the surprises in the movie. They do not reveal the ending or the killer.

There are no exploding gas stations or cars flying through the air, so if you need that sort of thing to be entertained this movie is not for you.

There were enough clues to throw my suspicion in several directions, so you really won't be sure "who done it" until the very end of the movie. I had a couple red flags pop up then down and it turns out one of them was correct. If it had been a game of Clue, it would have been one of my guesses.

Now let's address the scenery. Filmed in Alberta Canada we are treated to some incredibly gorgeous mountain scenes and an Oh so wonderful log home by a running stream. My Oh my, I would love to have a cabin like that. Maybe one day. But now back to the movie.

According to the story line, the hero is in Alaska at the invitation of the town mayor. It seems someone wanted an "outsider" to be impartial as police chief in this humble little town. The new chief is running away from some very unpleasant dealings in the town of Baltimore, MD. He is an experienced cop which will prove to be a necessary skill before the movie ends. The mayor is a delightful older lady and crusty enough for us to believe she has lived in the far north all her life.

Two climbers find a body by accident. Someone had committed a murder fifteen years earlier and it has been frozen in time.

There are the usual grumpy suspects to give us a wide assortment to chose from. There are some plot twists and turns, and a bit of humor you might catch unless you are a big city person who has never lived in a small town and known people like these.

I loved the scenery and the log buildings. I hadn't seen Rosanna Arquette for awhile and I thought she was quite attractive as well as LeAnn. There are some fellows I assume the ladies would find to be eye candy as well.

The baiting of the bear at the cabin might actually have worked as planned to eliminate the new police chief. Knowing how bears are the city cop might have tried to take the bear with his little nine mm pistola and lost his life to one very angry bear. I do feel the "friendship" between our hero and LeAnn was a bit too rushed, but in cold climates relationships might heat up a bit faster than normal? There were some clichés near the end. The interfering state cop gets wounded when he absolutely had the drop on the bad guy, The girlfriend injects herself into the shootout scene and gets wounded.

I think the actors did a reasonably good job with their roles. I never got the feeling they were "acting" as I have seen in some other movies. I now have the desire to read the novel to learn why others believe the book is better.

It at least has a happy ending, which I like, and I would hope you will too. I actually watched it a second time to determine how many clues I missed as to who the murderer was. I had the bad guy pegged at one time but then let another clue pull me off track.

Watch it just to see how well you do catching the killer. When it is over will you feel like a Columbo or just a dumbo?
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My reaction to this film is much warmer than the frigid Alaskan scenery.
bill-7902 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I'm puzzled by the reactions of those who trash this film. It's no world-beater, but it's a fairly entertaining film most fans will probably enjoy viewing. Nothing particularly novel here, but it's well enough done for a TV movie and if nothing else has some great scenery.

Possible spoiler: There is one serious flaw in the script. The newspaper editor is murdered and the killer tries to make it look like suicide, even leaving a phony suicide note on the editors computer. The problem here is that there is no mention of any attempt to ascertain whether there were powder stains on the dead man's hand.

I was put off by the existing reviews before watching, but now think those reviews are unfair. We're not talking about a classic work of cinema here, but I have seen really bad movies, and this one is certainly better than those.
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Not a bad movie
TheRaven83869 August 2015
After I read the book Northern Lights, it ended up being one of the best books I had ever read, so naturally I had to see the movie. Now I knew going in, there was no way for the movie to be as good as the book. There was way too much detail in 600 plus pages to fit into an hour and a half. Leanne Rhimes isn't even close to looking like how i had Megan pictured, but she does the role well. All the other characters were cast very well in my opinion. I've seen a lot worse book adaptations before. They followed the story very well and as I said before, there was just a lot of detail that had to be watered down. Worth watching,just as it usually always is. The book was better.
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Cant they make a decent movie??
Renrac22 August 2009
"They keep taking Nora Roberts and pairing her wonderful novels to barely anything at all. Why does a mediocre guy like Nicholas Sparks get all of his novels on the big screen and Nora gets no special treatment beyond stunt casting?"

I agree with this sentiment 100%.

I read a lot, always have. I've never been a big romance or mystery lover but the first time i picked up a Nora Roberts novel I absolutely loved it and have read every book of hers I could find overseas since. I especially like her titles under her J.D. Rob pseudonym. The In Death line of books are fantastic! I just wish they could take such wonderful work.. and make a movie of at least near equal quality.
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Beyond Awful
mellissasue8 April 2009
Someone should tell LeAnn Rimes that simply reading the lines with a bitchy attitude doesn't make you an actress. I was never a huge fan of Meg in the novel, but Rimes managed to suck what I did like right from the character.

I understand that an adaptation has to change things in the screen version, but is it necessary to strip all the good stuff? I made it through the first half hour of this mess and I had to turn it off. A complete disappointment with none of the atmosphere that sucked me in while reading the book. Eddie Cibrian was fine as Nate, but I missed the setup to the story that had been done in the novel -- with Nate settling in as sheriff that really made the book for me. It was a murder mystery sure, but there were more to it in the book and I missed that in this adaptation.

This is just like the 2007 collection that aired -- I could only get myself through one of out of the four movies more than once. They keep taking Nora Roberts and pairing her wonderful novels to barely anything at all. Why does a mediocre guy like Nicholas Sparks get all of his novels on the big screen and Nora gets no special treatment beyond stunt casting?
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