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  • Although we live further south now, at the time of the sniper, we lived in Frederick County, Maryland...Just to give ya an idea, it was 15 miles from where the sniper was caught, and around all the other shootings....The movie, I thought, captured everything just as it happened, and was not over-dramatized...There was real fear there, police escorts were available at shopping malls/centers 24/7,residents were warned to remain indoors/out of public as much as possible, and the highways really did back up miles and miles long looking for that elusive "white van" (initally suspected vehicle)..I think all of our guardian angels were working overtime that week...It could've been anybody, as the victims were picked at random, and the movie really got that message across flawlessly...Anyhoo, I just wanted to say that this, by far, depicts an actual event so correctly that I would (and plan to) buy it on DVD...That's my 2 cents LOL..:)Good job!

    P.S. - ::::A little prayer 4 the victim's families:::
  • Renaldo Matlin31 October 2004
    The shocking case of the so-called "Beltway sniper" is dramatized in such a manner that you never really feel too connected to any of the main characters, but you do get a sense of the urgency for the investigators and the indescribable horror it must have been for the people in the area.

    In the case of 'Charles Moose' (Charles S. Dutton) I wish we could have gotten more under the skin of this very complex and fascinating chief of police. In real life, I remember watching him deliver all those press-conferences when it all happened, and how he gave an impression of being a very dedicated law-officer who truly lived up to the line "to protect and serve". Naturally I therefore hoped this film would give a better understanding of what makes this man tick, but it didn't really. This is no fault on Charles S. Dutton, a very fine actor, but more on the writers.

    On the other hand, the fact that we never get to know what makes the main characters act as they do, makes the portrayal of the two snipers even scarier. It's like Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds", the movie ends without us knowing what triggered all the bird attacks, and the fact that we don't get the answers we so desperately seek, add to the horror. Especially when the crimes in question are so horrific as they are here. Here we have two human-beings who really act like the world was their personal playground and the taking of human lives nothing worse than the actions in a video game. We will probably never get any real answer from the "lead" sniper John Allen Muhammad, as he was sentenced to death earlier this year, and considering the horror he bestowed upon America, it is not likely he will spend time on death row long enough to help give us an answer to the mystery.

    This movie dramatizes these perverse killings and it's grand-scale investigation in a straight-forward-manner that works, mostly thanks to the fact that this case is so dramatic to begin with that the film-makers really couldn't mess it up in the first place. As a matter of fact it is so harrowing that the movie itself leaves the viewer more disturbed than "entertained".

    Nice world we live in, huh?
  • I should start by saying I lived only 4 blocks from the shooting at White Flint and worked in Silver Spring. I have also used IMDb for years without feeling the need to write a comment or register for voting until now.

    I felt this movie deserved a much higher rating then I what I saw. True my 8/10 can probably be viewed as a bit biased from being so close to the subject matter.

    With that said, I feel the movie did a great job of portraying the events in a way that made you feel what it was like to go through it. I at times was intensely sad and angry watching it and re-living it. I enjoyed the way they portrayed Chief Moose, Who I respect and feel got unfairly treated during the events and especially subsequently after.

    They did not unfairly demonetize the snipers although many probably feel they should. Instead taking a tactful approach to the characters.

    I was also amazed to learn much more from this film then I though possible going into it.

    *** If you want to know what it felt like to live this drama as the general victim of the proximity this film is a good place to start. ***
  • asphyxion_18 October 2003
    Now, some may say this movie is controversial due to its subject matter, and the fact that it's been only a year since the horrific blood-lusting rampage that John Lee Malvo and John Muhammad had gone on to terrorize America.

    Let's break down the analysis in to a few parts.

    Acting - There was some pretty good acting, Charles Dutton did a great job at portraying Detective Moose.

    The actors that played Malvo and Muhammad also did very good jobs. They had a great mix of emotion, and non emotion. As soon as they knew they were in trouble, you could just sense that Muhammad new they were in deep crap and wouldn't be able to escape.

    Cinematography - This film had EXCELLENT cinematography. I loved the camera use in this tv movie. It was fantastic. Plus, the dark blue, and grey really sets the tone for such a case, as it gives the movie a "grimey" feel to it.

    Plot/Storyline - It's based on true facts, so there isn't much to judge on. The director did an excellent job of translating these true events to an actual event on screen.

    My grade - B+ (for TV movies.)

    I've seen better, and oh God, I've seen FAR MORE worse. This is a must see if you like Phone Booth. A good popcorn movie to pass the time.

    Although you may disagree, (since I live here in California and weren't in danger of the snipers), please, just enjoy the movie for what it is, a movie.
  • mrwax22 October 2003
    Well, I myself live about 30 minutes from DC, so i could really relate to the movie. i remember sitting there and shouting out "hey i remember this one, this one was the..." so and so. the movie in my opinion deserves about a 7, and thats higher than most people would rate it, but if you live in the DC Metropolitan area you can feel and appreciate it a little bit more.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was very impressed with this made for TV movie. This movie is based on the true events of the Fall of 2002 in the Washinton DC Area. For 23 days a sniper bullied and terrorized the citizens of Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. With multiple people shot and killed the violence grows as the sniper gets more and more cocky.

    The feel of this movies is very authentic. The acting was good as was the way that the movie was able to show both side of the story. I really felt like I was experiencing those days all over again. The story is filled with emotions and facts that can be followed and understood.
  • grafspee218 October 2003
    Warning: Spoilers
    I have seen many of the USA Network films and this retelling of the sniper attacks of last Autumn is their finest achievement to date.

    Charles Dutton is Chief Moose, he speaks slowly and determinately like the Montgomery County Sheriff did in the traumatic period of indiscriminate slaughter.

    Cold and at times searing photography rare to see in television movies lights the work with strong actors and unpleasant violence that does not trivialize the viciousness of the crimes as many films have. Although the story follows much in line of Dirty Harry and Scorpio's murder-extortion scheme, it is far more insidious to know that this was a real event that did grip the country more than the 24-hour news channels could possibly convey. This film is able to transcend the fear-mongering and become a reflection of the real world as much as Leibniz's monads. If you haven't figured it out this film worked for me.
  • How sick has the media become these days? If the USA network were actually serious about making a movie to ACCURATLY tell the story of the sniper shootings, and not to make higher ratings I wouldn't have a problem. But its quite clear to every mind in the United States and abroad, that the purpose of this movie is to make lots of money over a terrible event that is too close to be immoralized in a movie. USA cannot tell an accurate account of the events when these events are not even over. The two suspects have not even went to trial and this movie has been made. WHY?!

    I encourage people to not watch this movie. USA dosen't care if you don't like it. If you watch it you are supporting it. So don't watch it. It is a story that needs time to become history.
  • STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs

    A re-enactment of the comparatively recent real life District Capital shootings,that held the communities of Virginia and Maryland in a state of terrified frenzy for four weeks towards the end of 2002.As all the chaos envelops around him,Police Chief Charles Moose (Charles S Dutton) does his best to restore normality as much as possible and to get to the bottom of who is behind the killings.

    As one or two other reviewers have stated and as I did mention at the beginning of my plot summary,this was a rather recent event and the producers of this film very quickly slapped it together.A little too quickly slapped together,perhaps,I think I'll agree and perhaps it would have been wiser for said producers to have let the dust settle a little first (well,at least let the TRIAL happen!) before going ahead and making it.To be honest,the very fact that a film based on such a major event is a TV movie,and as such,with the budget and production values of a TV movie in the first place shows how hasty to jump the gun they were.If greater patience had been shown,this should have been a major Hollywood production,with better sets and a bigger name cast behind it.

    As it is,though,with it's cheap looking production and almost entirely unknown cast,D.C. Sniper:23 Days of Fear has attained an eerie,tense feel to it,with it's use of location and use of imagery and symbolism,as well as fairly moving performances from all it's central cast members.The creeping and unfamiliar sense of fear and disbelief is very well captured,with the aid of a well composed soundtrack and a tight,well written script that seems to have gone to meticulous detail to capture the true essence of what went on.

    Such sensitive subject matter was always going to court controversy and yes,I think I'll agree the movie does give off the overall impression of being rushed and cheap.But it's certainly a very enthralling and moving account that will have you hooked to the end.****
  • This movie was definitely made too soon, especially since the trial of the two suspects is going on right now (messing up the jury pool???). Also, we have NO idea which parts of the movie were fictionalized, dramatized, or whatever. But, it WAS very well acted and Charles Dutton did a good job portraying Chief Moose. And the movie definitely reminds me of the horror of that time. You do sit there and cringe at every killing that is committed, feel angry at Malvo and Muhammed, feel frustrated with the investigation missteps, and the relief of the two being captured. But they really should have waited like a few years AFTER the convictions in court to make this movie.
  • This film came on DVD, and was a good opportunity to see what the general nature of these vicious crimes was. At that time I was quite busy, and didn't get to follow it on the headlines. I found it well directed, very nice camera work. The sound score, although cliche at times, aided in the suspense. I loved Charles S. Dutton, his best acting so far I think.

    Most crimes are committed on the basis that the criminal thinks he/she/they won't get caught - thus the severity of punishment is a moot point. However the message is clear here : You can do a crime maybe even 20 times, but the 21st time you WILL GET CAUGHT. Hopefully this might serve as a (unfortunately money making) deterrant. That's the best I can hope for.
  • This movie captures the propaganda about the shootings correctly. The DC Sniper shootings certainly looks like a psyops to me. At the time there was a vote in congress about giving the Bush regime the power to invade Iraq. The shootings took place all the days it took congress to vote. Then when the vote ended, the shootings ended. Perhaps the threat of a random sniper attack scared congress members into voting for the Bush regime's desire to invade Iraq? These were the days of blatant propaganda, lies, and psyops, including anthrax, color-coded daily terrorist warnings, and criticism of a sitting President and his regime was not tolerated. It was all jingoism for war.
  • As someone from Montgomery County, I have to say I found it shocking when I heard this movie was going to be made. The event had happened so recently. It was just three years ago that I sat in traffic for 3 hours while they checked cars all over the beltway and beyond, and just three years ago when every local landmark I knew was suddenly a target.

    The USA cable television network had a compelling story and it rode script full throttle into a brick wall. Even if the idea of profiting from a shooting spree that terrorized thousands and shocked millions wasn't morally repugnant, USA's D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear, a movie adaptation of the events that unfolded three years ago in Montgomery County, just shouldn't have gone forward.

    To begin with, the network, strange as this may sound, had very little material to work with. The two snipers were, of course, unknown at the time the crimes went down, so an overriding sense of mystery and panic is left to take center stage instead of any person. The tale lacks a hero, leaving Ex-Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, the face of the good guys on the news, as the only logical choice for a main character. However, his bumbling performances in front of the media and his limited ability to affect the course of events make also make Moose, played by Charles S. Dutton (A Time to Kill, Alien 3), a weak focal point for the movie.

    Still, USA trudged along, and Moose was indeed made the main character. His fiery attitude behind the news cameras shows a different side of Moose than the public saw in 2002, though whether or not the depiction is accurate is anyone's guess, as Dutton has reportedly never met Moose. The two do resemble one another, though Moose looks like Dutton after going on the Subway diet. The failings of the movie really can't be placed on Dutton's shoulders, because he did all he possibly could have done with such a weak role.

    County Executive Doug Duncan, portrayed by Jay O. Sanders (Glory, Angels in the Outfield), gets thrown in as a secondary main character. But his involvement in the investigation seems minimal. In the movie, Duncan is relegated to advising Moose, though his main purpose seems to be interacting with his family to show what home life has become as a result of the attacks. In this capacity, he's a dud. Duncan's family is protected by the police, so his experience would have been far different than the majority of Montgomery County residents, myself included. Perhaps if the film had focused on a fictional character in the middle of the chaos, the audience would have gotten a more true-to-life sense of what happened.

    Director Tom McLoughlin, the writer and director of the Friday the 13th: The Series, makes some odd decisions in the film. McLoughlin attempts to vilify the media in several scenes, incorporating the tarot card leak and other seemingly disastrous blows various news affiliates inflicted on the investigation into the plot. The idea is not unique, as many movies show the news networks as vicious, amoral organizations. However, the WAY he presents the idea IS unique and rather two-dimensional. All the no-good, awful, rotten, mean things that, in McLoughlin's mind, the media represents are embodied by one man who pesters the police for and then leaks information. His over-the-top performance comes complete with sinister grins and an uncanny ability to make information materialize out of nowhere.

    The film does take an interesting look at the relationship between John Muhammad, played by Bobby Hosea, and John Lee Malvo, played by Trent Cameron. This is the one aspect of the film that's genuinely new and interesting to watch. The movie shows Malvo as a complete subordinate to Muhammad, willing to take whatever orders his "father" gives him. The panic that crosses Malvo's face each time he feels out of control of a situation is quite believable, and Muhammad's weird mixture of fatherly pride and calculated cruelty is strangely creepy to observe.

    Still, this one somewhat bright spot doesn't make up for the rest of the problems in the movie. While the various crime scenes and characters all bear a passable resemblance to the real places and people (I've seen them all), minor errors plague the movie, sometimes making watching difficult to those who know the story well. At one point, Duncan is referred to as "mayor" despite the fact that he holds no such office.

    The movie is punctuated by a horrendous concluding scene wherein Moose does his best to defend his actions, and the producers try to put a positive spin on an unspectacular ending when Moose announces the boy who got shot early on isn't going to die. (Just an FYI: Moose later wrote a book about the events and was forced out of his position because of it) It's hard to make a movie based on a crime spree that really doesn't lend itself well to character development. It's even harder to find sympathy for a network that exploits tragedy.
  • it is a chilling, graphic representation of the beltway snipers. maybe this movie was released to quick and it was too soon for some, but it shows that the nation can prevail over 2 ass holes who thought they were GOD. for a made for tv movie, this isnt bad at all. charles s. dutton is heartbreaking and strong in his role and the movie will creep you out. the made-for-tv event of the year! 7/10 or 3/4 stars
  • It says something about the callous nature of the Beltway sniper attacks that they caused so much morbid media interest . In a country like the United States which is perceived to be very violent ( I'm not saying it's true just that it's perceived to be in Europe ) the three week killing spree made the headlines all across the world in October 2002 . It should be remembered that America was still recovering from 9/11 and any killing spree would automatically be thought of as an act of terrorism from an outside power hell bent on attacking the American way of life

    This TVM tells of the hunt for the snipers who murdered 13 people over a period of three weeks but almost certainly tells it very badly . As you might expect it's told from the police point of view primarily Charles Moose played by Charles S Dutton but one can't help thinking it's a total whitewash as to the police's failing to catch the killers earlier . Perhaps even more disgraceful is the fact that this TVM was broadcast just before the murder trial took place . In other words you get a feeling of sickening cynicism it's broadcast to generate maximum advertising revenue for a TV network
  • Beeracuda19 October 2003
    The whole purpose of a documentary is to provide additional information rather than just the actual events. Everything displayed in this movie was widely available through media sources. We all knew the facts of this case. Especially those of us in relative close proximity of the crimes. What the movie fails to offer is any kind of insight as to why these 2 people committed these awful crimes. Why not? BECAUSE IT HASN'T GONE TO TRIAL YET!! Perhaps after the trial, we'll have a better idea as to why these 2 did this. But to release a movie like this before the trial is very irresponsible. It's already hard enough to find a jury for a fair trial. Now they come out with a movie depicting the actual events while jury selection is going on! Ridiculous, irresponsible, and greedy, USA Network should be ashamed for showing this trash.

    I think that USA Network just gave the defense lawyers great ammunition for declaring a mistrial once the trial actually begins. I'd be surprised if it doesn't happen.
  • boblipton19 October 2003
    Good performances, direction and interesting camerawork struggle with an indifferent script that lends little insight to this just-the-fact-ma'am handling of the DC Sniper. Dutton is little short of superb, but he can't do much with the material. The fisheye lenswork and overly crisp definition are, at first interesting, but after a while simply emphasis the emptiness of the story, and the musix is annoying from the start.
  • I really enjoyed this moviE. USA did a good job in renacting this horrific crime that took the lives of several people. It just shows that there are still many sick people in this world, but a lot of good hearted people that will do just about anything to see that they are brought to justice.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    At least this made-for-TV movie wasn't shot in Canada, although it might as well have been. It does the kind of job most TV movies do -- a straightforward, almost documentary, retelling of the incidents with enough fictional human interest scenes to turn it into something more than a search for Colonel Plum and his pepperbox revolver.

    I suppose most of us remember the killing spree around Washington, DC, in the early 90s. It was in the news every night. President Bush made a public comment on it. Two African-Americans drove around town in a Chevrolet with a hole cut through the trunk. The older man, played by Bobby Hosea, exerts some sort of charismatic spell over his younger disciple, Trent Cameron. Hosea drives the car, giving orders like "Clear your mind," while Cameron snuggles in the trunk and sights his Bushmaster rifle through the circular opening.

    It begins with a bang. Actually three or four bangs, discreetly done. No squibs explode. The victim looks surprised, stumbles a bit, and drops. Some victims we don't see at all.

    Both Hosea and Cameron are quite good, given the material they have to work with. Charles Dutton is the main figure, the police chief, built like a tank, speaking slowly, deliberately, emphatically to the TV cameras. He doesn't really bring much to the party. He gets to look exhausted and once or twice his eyes brim with tears. There is a sentimental coda that is supposed to make the audience sight with relief and gratitude. I'm afraid I dislike these tacked-on happy endings. It's like the beaten boxer, glimpsing his girl friend in the crowd, then hauling himself to his feet and clobbering his opponent to the canvas.

    Someone complained that the film didn't answer any important questions, such as, "Why did those two guys go around shooting people." I'm glad no answer was provided because at this stage of the game there is none to be had. The vast majority of homicides involve people who know one another. It's perfectly understandable because the victims are people who know us, whose opinions we care about, and who are in a position to hurt us. Killing a complete stranger has a preposterous quality. What's going on inside the heads of people like this, to whom shooting someone at random seems only a step or two beyond blasting a traffic sign on a rural road? Nobody knows. And the usual attempts at explanation -- abused as a child, traumatized by a war, grew up in a dysfunctional family -- are as ridiculous as the murders themselves.
  • jimmypie6011014 September 2017
    4/10
    movie
    trying to get movie but it has not been shown on TV in years and amazon .com has it for sale for 9 bucks but i have read complaints on site of disc not working in most DVD players.it is dumb that they would sell a DVD that does not play that is just stealing money from customers.can you see why it has not been on TV in so long.