May 25, 2024

BOSTON STRANGLER (2023) – Dying of boredom

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Rating: ⭐ 1/2

Yet another “inspired by a true story” dramatization of a serial murderer in Boston during the 1960’s. However, instead of telling the tale from the perspective of the murderer, the story is told from the point of view of the reporter Lorette, of the Boston Record American newspaper, who broke the story to the public and uncovered some startling facts.

British actress Keira Knightley puts on her best American accent for the lead role of the investigative reporter. However, she still comes across behaving very British. But that is the least of the film’s problems. First and foremost, it is tedious. To begin with, the characters aren’t particularly fascinating or likeable, and the slow pacing doesn’t help. I can’t help but believe that telling the story from the reporter’s point of view is less engaging than telling the same story from the murderer’s point of view. That would have provided a greater understanding of the motivations behind the killings. Lorette comes across as quite unpleasant. She appears to be selfishly motivated at work, with no remorse for neglecting her home life. She is helped by an apparently more capable coworker, Jean (Carrie Coon), who appears to be content to stay in the background. It’s debatable how precisely this relationship is depicted, but we get the sense that Jean is a far better investigative reporter than Lorette. Carrie Coon’s limited screentime is unfortunate because she appears more genuine and intriguing. Finally, it doesn’t help that the film’s cinematography is depressingly dark throughout, making it a slumber inducer.

Boston Strangler is a film that could have been much stronger. Most film or television adaptations of true-life serial killers are riveting, revealing fascinating details about the case and the killers. Boston Strangler falls short of such expectations and ends up being a dull account of a far more fascinating series of events. Ultimately, its writer and director Matt Ruskin must take much of the blame here for the film’s failure to come up with something more invigorating and enlightening.

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