The Green River Killer was responsible for the deaths and disappearance of dozens of young girls during the 1980s. This two part miniseries, originally airing on the Lifetime network, chronicles the two decade long investigation made by Sheriff David Reichart.
Spread out over two episodes. The mystery plot can wear a bit thin at points and start to resemble a watered down TV police drama, but credit must be given for how the director recreated both the era it took place in, as well as the sense of sickening frustration the police felt for having spent so many years chasing one person. The grim realization these investigators have is that the only way they can gather more useful evidence is by having more bodies emerge in their search. The higher the body count, the greater their chances are that the killer will leave behind a piece of evidence they can use, taking into consideration that this was a time before our modern understanding and use of DNA evidence (a point that become the linchpin to the eventual apprehension the title of the film promises).
Noting its long running time, around 180 minutes, one might expect many drawn out scenes of filler dialogue but there are actually a high number of scenes piled in thanks to a tight screenplay that tactfully keeps each scene as refined as possible, often having no more the 1-3 lines of dialogue per. Meanwhile, the plot works in a fictional element, adding two girls as possible victims to represent the many girls who went missing and remained unfound and/or unknown. Both of these are positive points signifying a well-developed script that maintains a hearty pace but manage to fill two long parts.
The cast is an assembly of very capable actors, all convincing in their performances. My only qualm might be with Tom Cavanaugh, who has the lead role, when he needed to express intense emotion. During the first part, he maintained the same placid look whether reading or breaking a plate, which deflated a few moments. It was not until part two that some energy forced its way into his performance and even made his voice crack when he unloads on the main suspect in custody.
Esthetically, I have already alluded to how authentically vintage the mise-en-scene looks and can further my compliments with due credit to the lighting work and costuming. As my pattern seems to be that of a compliment salad, garnished with a minor complaint, I must question the shaky camera of many scenes (another problem mostly housed in the first part as opposed to the second). The effect might be to try and keep some sort of energy going during slower/earlier exposition sccenes but only creates queasiness, especially for those with larger screens (think of the Bourne Ultimatum‘s effect, albeit only about 90% less jarring).
Widescreen 1.33:1. Sadly, much of the footage seems unnecessarily fuzzy and aged considering how recently it was made. Greater care could have been made in the DVD transfer.
Dolby Digital Stereo. The dialogue is very clear, as is the score. I have no bones to pick with this decent, albeit non-surround, presentation.
Fun fact: having recognized a few cohorts and friends in the cast, I realized all too late that this was a locally filmed production (Winnipeg, MB is local for me). I assure my readers that this had no effect on my review as I am not privy to creating a bias no matter how many familiar faces arrive.
The narration and storytelling of a victim has the power to break your heart as you begin to fully understand how grand and mostrous this man’s crimes are. Of the Lifetime series’ that I have witnessed lately, this stands out as the strongest thus far. A well made true crime, genre piece that should stand well for fans. Since it was based on a true story, and