Sort by
Listing Movies
Display Movies
Murder in Paradise (1990)
Filmmaker(s): Fred Walton

A stressed-out, big-city cop seeks refuge in Hawaii, only to become embroiled in a serial murder case that appears to be identical to his last case in New York City.

Murder in Paradise (1990)

Cheap Hotels

If you study film, you study it all — at least for the elements I value. Sometimes these hack jobs that just don’t work, have all the structure of folding that the big boys use. It shows you that some conventions are just so well accepted they are used almost by default.

You won’t see this, but here’s the story. We start with a backstory that is a standard film by itself. A serial killer in New York, has a specific MO. He also wants the thrill of the chase, so targets a drunk homicide cop to harass, along the way making that cop’s wife a victim before setting up an encounter where he is guaranteed to be killed by the cop. ‘Se7en’, if you will.

The narrative starts with him in Hawaii, a drunk. Useless. Now the murders start again, this time with the same MO, almost. He has a strange relationship with the local police, some needing his help, others worried about his stability, and yet others simply thinking he is the murderer.

A thread, performed very poorly, is his inner torture — growing while he seems to be contacted on the phone by the dead NYC murderer. A local who is also a therapist tries to be an anchor, and turns out to be the victim he saves.

A theme has that woman, and a rich widowed landowner trying to get him to see the beauty of the island, including a section called paradise, he suspects is the reason for the killings. He turns out to be right, and solves the case.

But there are two twists that were crowded into this busy script. One is that he has to confront the killers alone because it is noir right? Everything conspires around him.

The other is grafted from another genre: the murderer being the rich femme fatal who seduces him, teases him with the glory of the place, then allows herself to be shot before a glorious suicide.

So, a watcher, pretends to be a prior watcher. She is the master manipulator, being herself manipulated by Hong Kong gangs (who we never see), but throws her advantages away in madness.

I am writing this in between the time that large language models are promising to write and even visually create movies, and the time that we actually have them. Will we end up with something unlike this?

Posted in 2024

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


No Comments

Sort by
Listing Movies
Display Movies
preloader image