17 August 1999 | SpuitElf
The last scene really made me sick (so typical American)
Before I give my comment on the TV-movie With Murder In Mind I would like to apologize if my English is not correct, for it is not my native language (I am Dutch).
I saw the movie on Friday the 30th of July on ARD (German television) at 12.30 A.M.. Although I expected that the movie would be nothing much, I watched it because I happen to like American TV-movies, especially when they are based on true facts, because the story is often easy to follow without really watching it all of the time. But this time I was really shocked, especially by the last act. As if it is not enough that she wins, the victim, a typical middle-class woman (the heroine), gets the good news (at least for her) on the television of the conviction of the alleged perpetrator (the villain) just at the same time (you won't believe it) as there is a family wedding going on at her house. What shocked me in this act was the complete lack of compassion towards the man who was eventually convicted. To me it felt like a justification, like some kind of statement of the director: 'that's what you're going to miss (very special important family occasions like a family wedding) for a long, long time and it serves you right, you dirty bastard!'
And what to think of the indifference of the announcement that the alleged perpetrator was sentenced to 29 up to 75 (!!!) years. With all due respect, but no suffering whatsoever of any victim justifies this kind of sentences. They are only for people who like to believe in simple black and white fairy-tales (and Americans love to do that!). They have absolutely nothing to do with reality. In Holland you can get 20 years of imprisonment at the most! And to me that is fair and realistic. I believe that everybody, and I mean everybody has a right to a certain minimum of compassion, because that is what human rights are all about. I can not help thinking that this is some kind of propaganda against any humane punishment and/or treatment of convicts. I know it is most likely that I am wrong, but if that is the case then I would like to hear that from director Michael Tuchner himself.
That last scene shocked me so much that I could not eat or sleep properly for several days. And even now as I am writing this I still get emotional about it. And I would not have been so upset if this movie had not been based on true facts. That is how I found this Website: I wanted to know the names of the characters involved, because I am very anxious to find out what happened to them after the movie and, if possible, to give Michael Tuchner a peace of my mind in person about this piece of crap.
All in all it turned out to be a very typical American TV-movie: Tuchner has succeeded in reducing a very complex reality into a simple black and white fairy-tale of the cheapest kind. To me that is totally irresponsible, especially in this delicate case (at least to me) where at the time that this movie was made the convict still claimed that he is innocent. And on top of that the story is told from the viewpoint of the winner. And especially in America the winner is always right. It is supposed to be a movie with a message, but I doubt if it was meant to be the message that I got: the only thing that matters is that you win, do not care about what happens to the loser. The winner takes all, be-cause (s)he is oh so righteous that only heaven is good enough and the loser gets nothing, because (s)he is always a devious crook who only deserves to live in hell.