This is a Lifetime basic cable movie, and it was produced by Uncle Jessie
from Full House, who also stars in it.
"That doesn't sound very promising, Scoop, either for quality or nudity. Why are
you fuckin' around with it?"
I noticed the film somewhere and remembered the story of the two high-flyin' Kissel brothers, both murdered,
within about three years of each other. I was curious about how Lifetime would
portray it, since one brother's murderer has never been determined,
and the other murderer, while admittedly having committed the act, is still
alive and appealing her sentence, hoping to change her conviction from murder
to manslaughter. The movie is a reasonably accurate account, albeit a safe one
which gets around legal liability by using some fictional characters, some
characters who are composites of several real people, and at least two
characters whose names have been changed.
The film takes a clear-cut position on the murder of Rob Kissel. His wife
admitted to the murder, but argued that she was a battered wife who was
defending herself against yet another violent assault. The movie completely
ignores the arguments made in her defense and presents the prosecution's case
as its narrative. There's nothing wrong with that, actually. First of all, the
overwhelming weight of the evidence pointed to premeditation, and her behavior
after the murder supported that conclusion. Second, her testimony was filled
with inconsistencies and she got caught in several outright lies which were
confuted by physical evidence. It is reasonable for the screenwriter to have
assumed that her entire self-defense story line was concocted from half-truths
and misleading inferences, and that her version of the story was created
simply because she had no other possible defense against the charges. After
all, what else was she going to say after it had been established that she
smashed in her husband's head by clobbering him several times with an enormous
The film didn't do as well with Andy Kissel's murder. The film's
hypothetical explanation (suicide for hire) is far-fetched, to say the least,
especially considering that one man in this case, the brother of Andrew's
assistant, Carlos Trujillo, has already pled guilty to manslaughter and
conspiracy to commit murder, and that man is never even mentioned in the film.
He, however, says he did not actually plunge in the knife. Still unresolved to
this day is the matter of who actually committed the stabbing, as well as the
actual involvement of Carlos the assistant, who is in prison, and whose trials
are still going on. Carlos's brother says they plotted the murder together.
Carlos's defense is that his brother is lying about the conspiracy. Carlos has
two things going for him: (1) to this day, nobody has been able to supply a
credible motive for why Carlos would have been involved; (2) the police have never determined
who exactly did the stabbing.
At any rate, it's a typical Lifetime: pedestrian and "safe," so it and
seems more like a TV show than a movie, and there is way too
much narration, either in voice-over or via the dreaded "characters' heads
addressing the camera" cliché.
... the actual story is interesting enough to
maintain viewer involvement. I found it quite watchable.
You cynics will have to wait for your schadenfreude. In the starring role
as Andrew Kissel, actor Uncle Jesse was quite charismatic; and in terms of
choosing and shepherding a project, producer Uncle Jesse spotted a winner. The
lad done good.