Plot: What’s it about?
In 1974, a young woman named Martha Moxley (Maggie Grace) was murdered, but the case went unsolved for over twenty-five years. Moxley lived in an affluent neighborhood in Greenwich, Connecticut, right next door to the Skakel family, who happened to be extended relatives of the powerful Kennedy clan. The murder became national news, as Tommy Skakel (Toby Moore) and his brother Michael (Jon Foster) were named prime suspects, but when the case wasn’t cracked, the death of the fifteen year old Moxley faded from the nation’s attention. Moxley’s body was discovered in a pool of blood on the eve of Halloween, with a golf club nearby, the weapon used to take her life in such brutal fashion. The case remained unsolved, but in 1997, Los Angeles detective Mark Fuhrman (Christopher Meloni) arrived in Greenwich, with the intention of writing a book on the infamous case. But when he found endless mishandled evidence, poor investigating, and other signs of a botched case, he took it upon himself to reopen Moxley’s case. As he digs into the case, Fuhrman also confronts his own inner demons and tries to redeem his mistakes, by bringing justice to this horrific case. But with so much red tape, power, and social walls against him, can he bring the poor girl’s killer to justice?
This was a made for television production, but it is a step above the movie of the week, to be sure. Murder in Greenwich is based on the true story of the murder of Martha Moxley, a crime which went unsolved for over two decades. But the determination of Mark Fuhrman, also well known for his involvement in O.J. Simpson’s murder case, the truth was uncovered about the murder and justice was served. As this is based on a true story, the impact is enhanced and the movie has more weight than most of its kind. In terms of a crime thriller, Murder in Greenwich is solid, but limited by the restraints of television. If this were a real motion picture, it could have been more intense and bold, but even so, it works well as it stands. The theme of social class structure is also explored here, which is important, since it played such a crucial role in the real case, given the social status of the suspects involved. You can tell Murder in Greenwich was a television production, but the budget limitations don’t lessen the experience much. There is also some emotional manipulation present involving Fuhrman, but as he wrote the book, that’s expected. The cast is solid however, with Christopher Meloni, Robert Forster, and Maggie Grace turning in good performances. So if you’re a fan of true crime, give this release a rental.
The main role here is played by Christopher Meloni, who is perhaps best known for his work on HBO’s controversial series Oz. But instead of playing a sadistic criminal, here Meloni is a detective, though the character does have a dark side. As this movie has shades of redemption for Fuhrman, Meloni has to bring a kind of obsessive texture to the character, but be careful not to take it too far across the line. This is because Fuhrman was consumed by this case and making sure justice was served, but he remained collected throughout the investigation. Meloni is able to handle all the demands of the role and then some, though if you ask me, he’s a longshot as far as looking like the man he’s supposed to be. But looks aren’t everything, though in a case of real life events, it helps to have at least a close match. The lack of resemblance isn’t an issue however, as Meloni’s effort is good and he brings a lot to the production. Other films with Meloni include Wet Hot American Summer, Twelve Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Runaway Bride, and The Last Don. The cast also includes Maggie Grace (Shop Club, Creature Unknown), Robert Forster (Jackie Brown, Alligator), and Jon Foster (Thirteen Days, Life as a House).
Video: How does it look?
Murder in Greenwich is presented in full frame, as intended. This is a weak visual effort, especially considering that the movie itself was produced in 2002. So this should have been a crisp, refined presentation, but instead we have a soft transfer that suffers from numerous defects. I saw instances of edge enhancement, halos, and even shakiness, as if this treatment were rushed in all respects. I know the budget was low on this movie, but I know this looked better on television, so I am unsure why such a lackluster version is found here. The image is watchable, but don’t expect much beyond a basic, flawed presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
A 2.0 surround option is found here, which seems to more than handle the needs of the material. This soundtrack is powered by dialogue in most scenes, as this movie is more about vocals than explosions or other impact elements. The dialogue is well presented also, as vocals sound clean and crisp throughout. I heard no instances of distortion or volume balance either, so every last word is crystal clear in this soundtrack. The sound effects are subtle and natural, while the musical score adds some life when present. So this might not be a dynamic audio experience, but this track is more than effective. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.