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A Kind of Murder (2016) HD online

A Kind of Murder (2016) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Crime / Drama / Thriller
Original Title: A Kind of Murder
Director: Andy Goddard
Writers: Susan Boyd,Patricia Highsmith
Released: 2016
Duration: 1h 35min
Video type: Movie
A psychological noir thriller set in 1960's New York based on Patricia Highsmith's novel, 'The Blunderer'. Walter Stackhouse is rich, successful and unhappily married to the beautiful but damaged Clara. His desire to be free of her feeds his obsession with Kimmel, a man suspected of brutally murdering his own wife. But when Clara is found dead in suspicious circumstances, Walter's string of lies and his own guilty thoughts seem enough to condemn him. As his life becomes dangerously entwined with Kimmel's, a ruthless cop is increasingly convinced he has found a copycat killer in Walter and aims to nail both murderers.


Cast overview, first billed only:
Patrick Wilson Patrick Wilson - Walter Stackhouse
Jessica Biel Jessica Biel - Clara Stackhouse
Haley Bennett Haley Bennett - Ellie Briess
Eddie Marsan Eddie Marsan - Marty Kimmel
Vincent Kartheiser Vincent Kartheiser - Det. Laurence Corby
Jon Osbeck Jon Osbeck - Jon Carr
Radek Lord Radek Lord - Tony Ricco
Christine Dye Christine Dye - Claudia
Kelly Mengelkoch Kelly Mengelkoch - Helen Kimmel
Corrie Danieley Corrie Danieley - Betty Ireton
Ian Short Ian Short - Bill Ireton
Ken Strunk Ken Strunk - Mr. Philpott
Jennifer Enskat Jennifer Enskat - Mrs. Philpott
Buz Davis Buz Davis - Detective Harvey
Barry Mulholland Barry Mulholland - Captain Millard

Reviews: [25]

  • avatar


    This was a beautifully shot film and at points I thought I was watching a Brian De Palma film, but all of that went out south in the last ten minutes.

    The story had built up nicely and I was salivating at the prospect of a wild twist of an ending. The cast and the acting were all top notch and it held up nicely as the period piece it intended to be, but then things started going haywire and it all just fell apart.

    It really seemed as if the movie perhaps ran out of money in the budget and then they just slapped together some incoherent garbage and called it a day. There has to be some explanation. I mean, the first hour plus of the movie was really well done so what the heck happened? It's a shame too because with the right editing it could have been great.
  • avatar


    I wasn't that interested in this film in the first 10 minutes, then I realised that Patrick Wilson was acting quite well, the direction was good and the sets were totally authentic. The story whilst nothing new or exciting was solid enough, and by about half way there I was well into it. Who dunnit, why did they, are they gonna get caught, I was having a drink and thoroughly enjoying it until the end. Yeah the end just came, out of the blue, from nowhere. And not only that, but it left me wondering, what the heck happened then? Who did what and why? The biggest anti climax in a very long time. I gave it 4 stars but that really was for the great acting from Wilson and Marsan, and the excellent filming. It's lucky to get that tbh because of the way it abruptly came to an end.
  • avatar


    I must admit I'm still not absolutely sure what happened in the end and I watched it twice. "A Kind of Murder" is a quirky little story; a bit like an episode on the old "Alfred Hitchcock Presents".

    Patrick Wilson plays Walter Stackhouse, an architect and amateur writer who is becoming disenchanted with his neurotic wife, Clara (Jessica Biel). He becomes fixated on the case of Marty Kimmel (Eddie Marsan), a man who may have murdered his wife. When Walter's wife turns up dead, an apparent suicide, a detective, Lawrence Corby (Vincent Kartheiser), suspects it may be a copycat killing and pursues both men with the single-mindedness of Peter Falk's Columbo, but with none of his affability. Finally we seem to be left not really knowing if Walter did it or is simply guilty of an overactive imagination?

    Patricia Highsmith's novels are tough ones to bring to life on the screen; they never end up as profound as you think they will. The films usually start with a clever idea, but run out of puff by the final curtain - The "Ripley" films and "The Two Faces of January" come to mind.

    Good looking Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel play against type creating unexpected characters, and this combined with Eddie Marsan's strange little bookshop owner and Vincent Kartheiser's unpleasant detective give the movie an odd edge; it's a hard one to love.

    The film has a subtle score with a seductive lilt by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, the go-to composers for the slightly off kilter ("Enemy" and "The Gift").

    Credit also for the early 1960's setting. From the clothes, the cars and the interiors to scenes at bus terminals and train stations, it captures the look of the period and, if you were around at the time, brings back memories. It also gives the film a point of difference, especially as a film such as this has to compete with dozens of high quality, film length dramas and mini series that pour in through TV, cable and satellite.

    However, it remains to be seen if "A Kind of Murder" with its fairly contrived scenario and rather annoying ending will stay in the memory.
  • avatar


    It could have been a really great movie but it just lets you down over and over again. I get the whole 60's era, rainy/snowy nights but it's all about the scenery and nothing about the characters. I never understood the bullying behavior of the Detective, the "illness" of the wife or what exactly the Husband did. Was he a Writer or an Architect? Too many unanswered questions and not enough acting, but you get plenty of night-time scenery. I guess my biggest disappointment is the Damn plot or story line, I'm still confused.
  • avatar


    No Spoilers It was interesting and got you involved,BUT, the last 10 minutes which is the ending was just so pathetic,so stupid and did not even make sense. I wasted all that time getting intrigued with it to have a silly ending. The acting was very good and the atmosphere was also good. The automobiles were classics.
  • avatar


    "I'd say he did it. I've worked it out." After an unsolved murder rocks a small town, Walter Stackhouse (Wilson) becomes fascinated by it and starts to do his own investigation. He is also struggling in his marriage to Clara (Biel) and she is becoming suspicious of what he is doing in his free time. After Clara is found dead Walter becomes a suspect himself and his whole life begins to unravel. This is a movie that tried everything it could to be tense and noir-like, but it never quite got there. It was a little generic and for me it was just really a struggle to get into. The acting is OK but there was just something about this movie that didn't seem to click with me. There was enough twists to make it somewhat interesting, but really just hard to connect with. Overall, a movie that tried everything it could to be tense and almost DePalma like, but failed. I give this a C+.
  • avatar


    I've become a real fan of Patrick Wilson in recent years. He's put his name to a lot of quality movies. Sadly, this is not of them. There was an idea that could have worked somewhere in the mix here, but it just got bogged down under an immensely boring story. The period the film is set in, the characters and the bland dialogue all do nothing more than put you to sleep.

    The film does pick up the pace a touch in the final third, but by then it's too late. Most have already switched off and those that haven't no longer care. The mystery side of things is poorly conceived as well. Thing's that we are meant to be curious about we already know the answer to, and things that we might genuinely care to know are never answered.

    'A Kind of Murder' is a very bleak experience that achieves nothing it sets out to. How a film with the word "murder" in the title can ever turn out quite so boring I'm not sure, but this one manages it. Nothing to see here, watch some of Wilson's other fantastic work from previous years instead.
  • avatar


    Film noir. Pulp fiction. Low lights and dim shadows. Smoky bars that serve the finest rotgut and rooms that rent by the hour. The not so smart guys and dolls that occupy this underworld are people the good life never knew. Their existence is one of unabashed desperation, seeking a way out to a life they never had or could play a part. Always one big score, one stroke of luck, one horse or roll of the dice away from trading the bad side of town for deliverance to a wistful world that remains just outside their plaintive grasps. For these tortured souls, a return to the big house is a welcome respite, death a transition to the solace they could never find. Pitfalls arrive in the form of a rival's murder they did not commit, a robbery by an old pal while they were asleep, but somehow, being a "usual suspect," they dissemble while innocent when the inevitable knock on the door arrives, which eventually leads to their sometimes undeserved tragic end.

    Enter "A Kind of Murder," a not so pulpy attempt at the classic genre. The lighting is foreboding, the shadows disguise, the mood is set, but then the movie starts and we get something else. It is as if the makers of this film tried to make "The Blue Dahlia" with the wrong characters. Clara Stackhouse, played by Jessica Biel ("Hitchcock," "The Illusionist") represents the stereotypical bored, hysterical, boozed and suicidal sixties housewife, dressed in suburban splendor in her taffeta hoop skirts, pearls and white gloves. At no point does she evoke the noir broad, the tough Barbara Stanwick-type chick who "don't take no guff off nobody." We're supposed to believe that she is the most successful real estate agent in her region, but the only indication we have that she has a career is a couple of lines from her boss. Her manic-depressive character would have been more believable if they had made her Madmen's iconic Betty Draper, pushing a vacuum while knocking back highballs.

    Patrick Wilson ("Fargo," "The Watchmen") is wasted in this poor man's B- movie role as Walter Stackhouse, a pathological liar on a strange guilt trip because he imagined life without Clara. He's got everything, successful architectural practice, sprawling suburban home, cool car and beautiful wife reminiscent of Talking Head's "Once in a Lifetime," but he's trapped playing the role of the desperate two-time loser with nothing at stake. The power couple we are presented ("he builds 'em, she sells 'em") simply doesn't fit. Wilson is forced to channel his best Alan Ladd while making every inexplicable mistake a murder suspect can muster, digging his own grave with every word he utters. You want to shout "Stop talking!" at the screen. He should have taken his partner's advice and taken some time off. We'll have to wait for Wilson to land a leading role he can sink his teeth into.

    The hard-boiled detective, played by Vincent Kartheiser (Peter Campbell- "Madmen") is straight out of a bad B-movie playbook. As pathetic as the perps he pursues, he concocts one crazy theory after another, committed to solving crimes with his gut rather than seek actual evidence. Stackhouse's mindboggling series of lies does nothing but encourage Kartheiser's unwavering, emotionally driven methods. Unfortunately, once the investigation picks up speed the story becomes frustratingly convoluted and remains so. His flights of fancy make it impossible to discern what he's trying to accomplish. Mark McPherson ("Laura"), a stellar noir detective, would have slapped him silly.

    The movie ends on a fitful note. Kimmel (Eddie Marsan –"Ray Donovan," "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell"), a psychopath who actually did commit murder, panics after one of Kartheiser's nonsensical threats, later finding his solace via death by bullets in a dark basement. Just what one would expect if the movie was about him. The problem is Kimmel's story is unrelated to Stackhouse's problems outside of convenient logistics, and provides no resolution to the principal story. We leave not knowing whether Kartheiser continued investigating Stackhouse or simply gave up. One could conjure the image of a conversation between him and his police chief a la "Burn After Reading," where they decide Stackhouse is simply too stupid to have murdered his wife. The line, "If we convicted husbands for wishing their wives dead, there would not be enough prisons to hold them" comes to mind. In the end, "A Kind of Murder" is kind of noir, but misses the mark.
  • avatar


    This film tells the story of a successful writer, who is married to a beautiful wife. His wife is unfortunately intensely jealous, and their marriage is in jeopardy. When his wife is found dead, a detective relentlessly tries to prove that he is the murderer.

    "A Kind of Murder" starts off engaging, as the wife is really beautiful. Jessica Biel's hairstyle is very elegant and elaborate, highlighting her status as a rich wife and successful designer. However, her attitude towards her husband is cold and unsupportive, making me feel very sorry for the husband. After the mysterious circumstances occurred, the story unfortunately goes downhill. The detective keeps on jumping to illogical and unsubstantiated conclusions, and his dedication towards the case is seriously misplaced. The involvement of the bookstore owner just doesn't make sense either. The ending creates confusion rather than suspense and thrill, which is a pity.
  • avatar


    Patrick Wilson is a two-time Tony Award winner who bears, at certain angles, a resemblance to Paul Newman. He has enjoyed a very good career. But if he doesn't stay away from films like this, I fear for him.

    "A Kind of Murder" takes place in 1960 and actually begins in a movie theater where "Butterfield 8" is being shown. A Chevrolet commercial can be heard from the screen; I'm not familiar enough with the film to say it took place in the movie, nor am I aware of commercials being shown in theaters, but I found it odd.

    The story concerns two men, architect and some time writer Walter Stackhouse (Wilson) and a bookstore owner, Marty Kimmel (Eddie Marsan). Kimmel's wife is murdered and found near a tavern, and an aggressive cop, Laurence Corby (Vincent Kartheiser) is positive Kimmel is the killer. However, a young man has given him an alibi - he and Kimmel were both in the theater to see Butterfield 8 at the same time.

    Then Walter's wife Clara (Jessica Biel), a beautiful but deeply disturbed and unhappy woman, winds up dead in the same location. Both women had taken the same bus, which stopped near the tavern. Walter, tired of Clara being neurotic, had told her he wanted a divorce. She threatened suicide, then left abruptly to be with her sick mother.

    Detective Corby harasses both men mercilessly, and when he finds out that Stackhouse has clippings of the Kimmel murder as a resource for the writing he does on the side, he doubles up the harassment.

    I'm not sure why this was set in 1960 except that it was based on a Patricia Highsmith novel probably written then. I wonder if the screenwriter (or Highsmith) realized that the Fourth Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1790 so that Corby could not have walked into Stackhouse's home and started going through his house without a warrant. And what idiots allow such harassment and never retain an attorney?

    The film had some atmosphere but was slow and dull. It took forever to get to the plot. Now, modern screen writing demands this. I have no problem waiting for the point of the movie if the film is moving along. This one didn't.

    Patricia Highsmith was a wonderful mystery writer, but she wasn't perfect. I haven't read her novel but somehow I feel it had to have been better than this.
  • avatar

    Musical Aura Island

    Leave it to Patricia Highsmith to come up with implausible plots that somehow seem so possible. Based on her novel THE BLUNDERER, Susan Boyd has adapted this complex novel for the screen and Andy Goddard directs.

    Walter Stackhouse (Patrick Wilson) is a rich, successful architect/writer unhappily married to the beautiful but mentally damaged Clara (Jessica Biel). His desire to be free of her feeds his obsession with Kimmel (Eddie Marsan), a man suspected of brutally murdering his own wife outside the Rainbow Grill, a bus/truck stop out on the road. But when Clara is found dead in suspicious circumstances, Walter's string of lies and his own guilty thoughts (he has become involved with a young singer Ellie – played well by Haley Bennett) seem enough to condemn him. As his life becomes dangerously entwined with Kimmel's, a ruthless cop, Detective Corby (Vincent Kartheiser) is increasingly convinced he has found a copycat killer in Walter and aims to nail both murderers. The denouement stops a bit cold and the last portion of the story seems more than slightly implausible, but the turns the story takes make it a very classy thriller.

    Another aspect of the film that works well is the sets and costumes (vintage cars, crinolines, excessive smoking, etc) that clearly place this film in the 1960s. Even the selection of music by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans enhances the atmosphere. The fittingly dark atmosphere is well established by cinematographer by Chris Seager. For pure noir thriller in the vein of Patricia Highsmith's plot development this is a strong film that could be stronger with some significant editing.
  • avatar


    This film is very frustrating. The whole movie is about whether he did kill his wife or not and you get to the end and you still don't know, so why bother? I would be furious about the lack of ending but it isn't such a good film to begin with so as to get too worked up about it. GIve this a total miss, don't go near it. It's a total waste of time.
  • avatar


    Expected more plot, action and/or suspenseful dialogue. Did not read the book and now I do not want to since movie dragged from very beginning. Script was slow and very predictable throughout. Wilson and Biel did a good job with the limited characters they portrayed. Marsan did a really good job playing the creepy guy that you really wanted to be guilty. Haley Bennett has some pipes on her. Detective character would have been much more believable using an older, more mature actor. Most entertaining parts of the movie were all the 60's things - the wardrobes, sets (particularly the Stackhouse residence), and the pervasive smoking. Having attained adulthood in the 60s I was impressed with the accuracy of all the design aspects. It was a good idea to set this movie during a snowy winter - helped some with attempt at film "noir" effects. Was worth rental fee just to see the clothes.
  • avatar


    Very ironic that it was based on a novel called "The Blunderer" as it was a mess at every turn.

    I'm guessing but being that they somehow had the authentic locales, wardrobe and the shockingly numerous vehicles of the times, tried to build a movie around those. Or just didn't care about anything else. Even that failed as there were countless wide shots that should have been nice but just didn't work.

    The broad strokes were the actual direction that only essentially employed wide shots of interactions between characters with very few close-ups when close-ups are what these "noirs" rely on most.

    A vast majority of the dialogue and plot were delivered in a matter-of-fact way that completely ignored subtleties and nuances. Eddie Marsan and Vincent Kartheiser at least made a half-hearted attempt to act while the rest of the cast and leads essentially walked through the piece.

    (Being that the whole thing was delivered in a very flat manner and the prevalence of foreign money in films, I have to speculate that had an influence as some foreign films have that kind of storytelling. Further research showed it had Japanese, Philippine, Singapore, Middle Eastern and German money behind it. But there was a very stark example of such in a movie called Child of God by James Franco and had a prevalent Chinese company, Well-Go USA, behind it. That, too, was a period piece in the 50s South but extremely esoteric and the last thing you'd think Chinese audience would relate to. And of course the obvious Marvel and Transformers films.)

    Even the snow was bad as it often had a snow effect but none to very little snow on the ground.

    Jumping to the end, it also ignored the tried and true rule about this genre. The killer is always the one you least expect. But no, it was the first person you expected and was completely devoid of being clever. And it never answered the question about the Biel's death. I GUESS it was suicide although never clarified such.

    We are introduced to Wilson's eventual love interest Bennett in a completely non-dramatic way. He is not shown to be smitten or awestruck. She just---appears. They have a conversation and she leaves. Biel is jealous.

    And then the rest was just sloppy nonsense.

    We see the killer obviously set up an alibi by making himself known to the kid in the movie theater. He then leaves and it looks like he's up to no good. In all but this movie, that turns out to be a red herring. But here? No. He is actually the bumbling killer who ended up murdering his wife in a very sloppy and public way.

    Then we see a few scenes where the killer and the kid seem to have some sort of arrangement or agreement about all this. In vague terms, the kid is on the killer's side. But does he know the killer is actually the killer? Just bumbling nonsense.

    Bennett then shows with the potted planet and seems to flirt with an uninterested Wilson, who then shows up at her singing gig. It's at THAT point that we see he is smitten.

    For a very long time we do not see either Wilson or Bennett together whatsoever. No reason to think anything has happened. Biel insists that she followed her husband to Bennett's apartment. (In what? They have one car. She took the bus to her mother's house.) I got the impression that she was just crazy as we the audience did not see any further interaction between the two.

    But no. That did in fact happen as we find out much later in flashback.

    Wilson follows Biel on the bus and loses her somehow and we are never told how. He quickly makes himself known to a witness but lies about it to the detective later.

    Even though the detective easily finds out Wilson is lying, Wilson continues to lie (about the bookseller/murderer) coupled with being very obvious about his new girlfriend and telling everything to his supposed best friend.

    And where did Bennett hide in Wilson's house when the detective showed up?

    Frustrated and at the end of his rope, the detective then somehow enrages the killer with a feeble argument about class-ism so the killer then can go after Wilson.

    Sure enough, the killer does that and, for some reason, chases Wilson out of a very public bar and into the shadowy catacombs that were apparently adjacent and very accessible to this bar. Police of course close on their tails.

    A little point about wearing glasses, which the killer did. The cop crushed the glasses under his foot (off-camera) and the killer was without his coke bottle specs. But this didn't seem to slow him down one bit. Anybody who wears glasses would call BS on this one.

    Miss it. Don't waste your time unless you like laughing at bad film making.
  • avatar


    Promising cast, if not the Hollywood's greatest. Adapted to the screen from the book called 'The Blunderer'. The film is about the two separate deaths that's quite suspiciable of having some kind of a connection. That's where the cop's investigation comes into play. The narration was very suspense, since nothing was openly revealed at the beginning what really had happened, where the rest of the film rides on with.

    There are many angles to have a guess, but mostly it hangs either one or the other way, where you could come close to unpuzzle. A rich couple's marriage is falling apart. While the wife is not taking it well as her husband does. He's already starting to look forward to have an affair and move on. That's when he comes across a news about an unsolved murder, and soon his state of life sees the same fate. Now hunted by the law, how he tries to prove he's not involved in any kind of wrongdoing. That leads to a twist before bringing a full stop to the storytelling.

    I thought it was good, because it was different, engaging and mysterious, but not sure the presentation was at its best. It is what we call Hitchcock style mystery-thriller. If he'd been alive, I would have expected it to be from his direction. He knows that formula, how to carve such subject. This is from a television director and the quality of the film remained the same kind. Though the actors were good, as well as the atmosphere of the narration. It had a lot potential to be a better one, but still it can be watched once if you keep aside your complaints.

  • avatar

    Light out of Fildon

    Andy Goddard's A Kind of Murder aspires to be a feminist detective thriller (adapted by screenwriter Susan Boyd from Patricia Highsmith's 1954 novel The Blunderer). But the film, set in 1960s New York, seems far more interested in its art design then in fully developing the story's underlying sexual ethics. Even the casting suggests that its producers hope to benefit from the nostalgia generated for that time and place by Mad Men: One of that show's principal actors, Vincent Kartheiser, plays the film's sleuth, Detective Lawrence Corby, who tries to unravel the mystery surrounding two women found dead at the same suburban bus station several weeks apart.

    The film opens with the first murder, that of the wife of an unprepossessing bookstore owner, Mr. Kimmel (Eddie Marsan), whom Corby suspects of committing the crime. The murder also captures the attention of Walter Stackhouse (Patrick Wilson), a successful architect and amateur writer of detective mysteries. Stackhouse does some investigation of Kimmel on his own, and in the process implicates himself in the second murder. Stackhouse works in the city and lives in the suburbs with his paranoid and depressive wife, Clara (Jessica Biel). Sexually frustrated as a result of her various neuroses, Stackhouse meets a seductive young jazz singer, Ellie (Haley Bennett), thus setting into motion the film's nourish romantic subplot.

    As I've mentioned beforehand, the film doesn't fully develop the story and it's underlying sexual ethics, rather it seems more interested in its art design.

    The central murder mystery is handled without much aplomb or ingenuity. Corby is a clumsy dick, and his investigation plays out like a humourless parody of a detective film. Albeit exquisitely packaged, A Kind of Murder is mostly a paint-by-numbers genre piece that only flares into life when exploring issues of sin, guilt, and punishment in relation to masculine sexual urges. As in many film Noirs, murder here is explicitly linked to thwarted lust. The film takes the standard Christian condemnation of adultery that leads fornicators to the jailhouse or the grave in most Noirs and endows it with a feminist twist. The biblical exhortation against lusting after another woman becomes here a critique of male sexual license in America on the eve of the sexual revolution.

    This appropriation of Christian morality for feminist ends is illustrated by Stackhouse's relationship with Ellie. She's the Eve to his Adam, tempting him away from his well-lighted, idyllic suburban home to a dimly lit underground jazz club in Greenwich Village. But the film emphasises her neutrality in this process, pointing out that it's Stackhouse's prerogative that sets the affair in motion. While Ellie is a willing participant in the drama, she's far from the sexually assertive she-devil that Clara makes her out to be. This emphasis on Stackhouse's culpability and refusal to judge Ellie captures America's evolving morality during that period, when Eisenhower-era family values were giving way to a greater emphasis on sexual liberation and gender equality.

    The film's muted cinematography coincides with the ethical murkiness of Stackhouse's behaviour as he journeys from the paradise of sacred matrimony to the hell of infidelity. His symbolic castration by Clara causes him to stray in his heart before he does so with his body, and the film's denouement reveals this to be a tale of feminist revenge from beyond the grave masquerading as a Christian parable about the dangers of carnal desire outside of marriage. As Stackhouse sits in his firm's office beneath an abstract expressionist painting, perplexedly trying to rationalise his immoral behaviour to his business partner, the art's wild, swirling colours hint at the moral revolution soon to be unleashed upon the nation and the confusion it would sow in its wake.
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    Thrillers made prior to circa 1970 often began with a "hook" of some kind, followed shortly thereafter by an unspeakable event. The story would only gradually unfold in which the viewer has no idea the who, the what, the how, the pieces of the puzzle only fitting into place at great effort. Think of the Maltese Falcon: a beautiful woman enters into the detective offices of Sam Spade and Miles Archer, claiming she's trying to find her sister who has been supposedly abducted. Shortly thereafter, Archer is murdered. In "A King of Murder", based on a story by the mystery-suspense writer Patricia Highsmith, famous for her Ripley novels, there's a similar form.

    At the beginning of the film, we learn that the wife of a reclusive antiquarian bookseller, Marty Kimell (Eddie Marsan) has been murdered. We don't see the murder, but mainly hear about it through a newspaper clipping extracted from a newspaper by Walter Stackhouse, a prominent architect. The case is being investigated by Detective Lawrence Corby (Vincent Kartheiser of Mad Men fame). Then we're brought to the other story-line thread. Walter Stackhouse (Patrick Wilson) seems to have everything someone in the upper middle-class could desire: a beautiful home, a beautiful wife, and a promising career as an architect and a short story writer. Except, his relationship with his wife, Clara (Jessica Biel), is on the rocks because of a dwindled sex life. At one of their lavish parties Stackhouse meets Elli, and he triangulates to fulfill his sexual needs. He also visits the bookshop owned by the husband of the murdered woman.

    Clara's impotence worsens and so does her psychological instability. At the same time, the case of the murdered woman seems to be going nowhere. Eventually, Clara's mother is reported to be dying, and Clara leaves on a bus to go to her bedside. Stackhouse follows her but then returns home. Later, we learn Clara never arrived at her mother's. She was found dead under a bridge about half-way between her home and her mother's. Was it suicide or murder? Stackhouse is questioned by Corby who starts to believe there may be a link between Stackhouse, his dead wife, and the other murdered woman. When questioned about whether he knew about the other case, Stackhouse lies and says he's never heard of it, and claims he has never met the widower. Corby begins to question Stackhouse's claims. Will he be caught in his lies and therefore become a prime suspect in the death of his wife?

    A thoroughly enjoyable and biting suspense-thriller which has its roots in many of the noir films directed by Howard Hawks and John Huston. A positive reviewer quote states that the film would have made Hitchcock proud, but this is much more of a throw-back to adaptions of novels by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. "A Kind of Murder" is very gritty, similar to the "b-films" of Old Hollywood, such as "The Maltese Falcon", "Laura", and "The Big Sleep". And the climactic ending is not what you would expect from most of these kinds of films today.
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    I have weighted the film on the lower side of 5 out of 10 for the abysmal ending. As with most movie buffs, we hate to get sucked into a somewhat film noir with plenty of mystery in the early going, only to have the film end rather abruptly without proper closure.

    Patrick Wilson who plays Walter Stackhouse, an architect/storyteller/amateur detective is superb in his role. Kudos also to the wardrobe department for their excellent choice for their 1950's period dressage. I also liked the performances by Jessica Biel and Eddie Marsan.

    I would try to explain my disappointment by likening it to the purchase of a double scoop of my favorite ice cream placed in a sugar cone only to have taken my first bite and find out the ice cream was sorbet and the sugar cone was actually cardboard. If you can picture that scenario, then that is what I felt I watched with "A Kind of Murder", more like "A Kind of a Let Down"
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    It's the winter of 1960/61 in New York City. Bookstore owner Marty Kimell (Eddie Marsan) recently lost his wife Helen and police detective Lawrence Corby (Vincent Kartheiser) is investigating the murder. Successful architect and aspiring crime novelist Walter Stackhouse (Patrick Wilson) is obsessed with the murder. He and his socialite wife Clara (Jessica Biel) throw a party which is attended by beautiful nightclub singer Ellie Briess (Haley Bennett). He spends his spare time secretly writing his book which drives his wife into rages of jealousy over Ellie.

    It is a murder mystery based on a novel. Director Andy Goddard is more known as a TV director. He doesn't have the cinematic flare. The production style is lacking despite the 60s decor. He is supposed to be an architect and the house does not stand out enough. Wouldn't it be better if they have a stylish Manhattan apartment? Wouldn't that be a simpler set to dress? More importantly, Goddard's camera style is lacking. It looks like a TV movie. While it has the stuff of the era, it doesn't have the soul of the era. It doesn't have the noir murder mystery style that the story is so desperate to have. As for the murder mystery itself, it doesn't start until Clara's death well into the movie. It's too far and the movie becomes too slow in its built. The actors are fine but they're just wasting their time doing this movie.
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    I enjoy a good noir and a good whodunit but this one does not deliver. The 60s vibe is cool, the melodramatic Jessica Beal is OK, Patrick Wilson is believable, and Eddie Marsan is great. It's just that the story gets too complicated and drags after the first 30 min. The last 10 are especially confusing
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    Eddie Marsan is great, as always. Jessica Biel is miscast. Storyline is disjointed and far fetched. I would say this is 1958 or 1959 - not the 60's as stated in the synopsis. Patrick Wilson tries hard to make it all believable but it's not enough to carry the film.
  • avatar

    fire dancer

    I loved the look and texture of this movie. It is beautifully noir without silly overacting and over-the-top scoring (as in De Palma's "Black Dahlia").

    In the story two suspects in two separate suspicious deaths are pursued by an obsessed detective. The detective, played by Vincent Kartheiser, is smart, sardonic and ruthless... oh yes, and patient.

    Of the suspects, Marty Kimmel (Eddie Marsen) is a bookish bookseller intent upon getting away with the murder of his wife. He is a sociopath and, as is the case with sociopaths, considers himself superior to the rest of humanity. Walter Stackhouse (Patrick Wilson), is guilty only of wishing his wife were dead. When she commits suicide, his guilty conscience motivates him to make a number of bad decisions which seem to implicate him in her death.

    Largely, by ironic coincidence, these two men's lives are entwined: Stackhouse becomes fascinated by Mrs. Kimmels murder after reading about it, both women will die outside the same restaurant after riding on the same bus (on different nights), both husbands will follow the bus to the restaurant on the nights of the two deaths.

    With the detective acting as a catalyst, the two husbands play out their stories. One acts out of ruthless self-preservation, the other out of neurotic, and unjustified, guilt. How wonderfully noir can you get?

    As we watched, my wife mentioned similarities between this movie and some Hitchcock films. We had just watched "Vertigo" a couple of nights before and I had rolled my eyes through it: Jimmie Stewart being duped when he obviously should have known better and all the messy details being tied up neatly in one short scene at the end. I am not a fan of Hitchcock. To me, this film succeeded in doing what Hitchcock often tried to do--providing reasonable inner motives for unreasonable acts.

    There are some actions in the movie that don't seem logical at all to me. Maybe I need to watch it a second time. Still, there is a general sense that the characters' emotional states might precipitate those actions, though they are illogical.

    One comment to blanch-2 in her review, "A Kind of Mess" (love that title), The Chevrolet commercial is not part of the movie "Butterfield 8", it was meant to be part of the pre-movie attractions, along with the newsreels and cartoons often commercials were shown. The fact that the two husbands unknowingly sit a few seats apart as they watch this film is a nice creepy touch.

    To sum up, this film may not hold together the very best when it comes to sequencing but I think it is well worth the time taken to watch it.
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    I rated it 6 from 10 stars as it was not as bad as the previous reviewers made it look like. But obviously I'm the only one in this reviewer group who watched the original Blunderer movie from France called "Le meurtrier" aka "Enough Rope" (1963) and THAT was a 10 star movie IMHO. It's such a shame that Criterion still has not released it in the US.

    Being very familiar with "Le meurtrier" and with Patricia Highsmith' novel "The Blunderer", I could compare and recognize scene after scene and can tell that this is a very close remake to the old French film. Then we watched the bonus material and actually kept waiting for the movie director or the stars to mention the older French version, but nobody did (?).

    Anyway, it's not a bad remake, because it keeps very close to the novel plot and to the French original movie. I just wish somebody who was interviewed for the bonus material would have mentioned/honored "Le meurtrier" in which Gert "Goldfinger" Froebe plays the book seller Kimmel, Maurice Ronet is Walter, beautiful Russian-French actress Marina Vlady impersonates Ellie, a musician (not a singer) and Yvonne Furneaux is Clara, Walter's Wife. Robert Hossein plays the detective.

    Spoiler: Instead of going to a jazz bar, Maurice Ronet goes to a music festival in the last scene. The original was mise en scene by Claude Autant-Lara in Nice at the Côte d'azur/French Riviera. The remake was filmed in New York City, also taking place in early 1960 with very beautiful colors. The cinematographer alone deserves 6 stars for this remake, but I also think that the actors were quite good. Check this out:
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    Those who gave really negative reviews, did you actually watch the movie? Or pay attention?

    None of the events are real. He's a writer. You are watching the story he's typing. There are hints throughout the entire movie. Like every time it shows him sitting at the type writer. Read the words he is typing. It's a dead giveaway at the end, the final scene he types "The End"

    I will admit that the movie is painfully slow. Like watching paint dry, slow. There's just not enough action. I found myself getting bored and my mind wandering easily. Still, I got enough of it to figure out it's his book.
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    I haven't read the source material nor seen a movie this is supposedly a version of (according to IMDb). So I can only speak for this movie on display right here. The fine acting is one thing, but what really got me was the script. It is ambiguous and very woven to say the least. Predicting things may seem easy, but in the end, maybe it isn't? And that's something I really enjoyed during watching.

    Having said that, there are a few things that seem easy to spot. It's a murder mystery, there are seemingly over the top characters involved and some sketchy themes running through it all. The final shot is mesmerizing to say the least and makes the mind wander ... and wonder too!