Film Scouts Reviews

"Murder at 1600"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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The first horse I ever rode was named Chance, Last Chance. So I knew when I had a secret service agent named Chance, I was in for a wild ride. Diane Lane is the agent who is assigned to help homicide detective Wesley Snipes solve a young woman's murder at the White House. And it is to be done as quickly and quietly as possible. But Snipes keeps finding evidence that points in opposing directions. I thought I had it all figured out just to be confounded at the same time Snipes is. I love mysteries that actually keep me guessing and this is definitely one. "Murder at 1600" is very much plot-driven and contemporary. How else could they reference a President who never served in the military? And a White House that has been under attack politically and even physically?

Besides a suspenseful plot, "Murder" boasts an ensemble cast. Also starring are comedian Dennis Miller, Alan Alda, Daniel Benzali from TV's 'Murder One', and Ronny Cox. The setting is the White House, but darker and more ominous than the real thing. Even the music heightens the tension, just like it should, without overwhelming the action. I have to comment on the tunnel sequences and chases because sometimes the camera work loses me in other movies. I have to try to figure out where people are and with the MTV camera work used now, it is getting harder. Not with "Murder at 1600"! Director of photography Steven Bernstein keeps pace with the action but never for a moment lets you forget where the characters are. I would say that he wrote the book on technique, and in fact he has: "The Technique of Film Production". Credit has to go to the screenwriters, Wayne Beach and the late David Hodgin, for creating intresting characters and a strong female lead equal to the male. Thankfully, Lane is no window dressing.

It is more fun to write a bad review, but I honestly enjoyed "Murder at 1600". Only afterwards did I find out that my original suspect was the murderer in the original script. See the movie and make your own list of suspects! Rated R. Warner Bros.

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