21 July 2011 | Michael_Elliott
Decent Sequel to the 2009 Film
Justice for Natalee Holloway (2011)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Lifetime Movie is a sequel to their 2009 film NATALEE HOLLOWAY and picks up in 2010 on the five-year anniversary of her death. Beth Holloway (Tracy Pollan) is still trying to find out what happened to her daughter when the already strange case takes another turn when Joran Van Der Sloot (Stephen Amell) is arrested for murdering another girl. If you've followed this case like I have then there's not going to be any new twists or turns in this film but then again that was pretty much true for the first one. I was a little surprised to see how well-made this thing was and there's no question that it's a better movie than the 2009 one but at the same time there are a few too many flaws to really call this a good picture. The quality stuff includes the fact that director Stephen Kay plays a lot of the action as a crime-drama and he manages to build up some nice tension along the way. There's one sequence where the Alabama FBI are trying to get Joran on extortion charges and we get to see the sting done and the director really builds up some nice tension here as we flash back and forth between what's going on in the room as well as getting to see Beth's reaction to everything. Another good thing the film has going for it is that it appears Pollan is really into her role and I'd say her performance here is better than the first time around. It really does seem like she's been haunted by the disappearance of the daughter and I think Pollan gets this across without any problems. I was also impressed with Amell who does a nice job once the film really centers in on him and his character begins to crack. At just around 90-minutes, the movie has a very good pace to it and the thing never gets boring and I'm sure if you're not familiar with the case then the movie will certainly keep you drawn into the events. As I said, there are several problems that keeps this from being a good movie and one is that the screenplay, at times, goes off into this over-dramatic stuff where it seems like Beth is just giving speeches hoping that someone who nominates the Emmy's will take notice. There were a few too many times where the film goes off on this speeches and another problem are some of the liberties taken with the story. I don't mind things being changed because this is just what happens in bio-pics but at the same time them speculating what happens inside the hotel room just didn't sit right with me and it really didn't come off too good. Another problem is the director's decision to use a lot of split-screens, which just comes off very distracting. With that said, JUSTICE FOR NATALEE HOLLOWAY is an improvement over the first film and while it tries to "end" everything it's well-known that these cases are on- going so I'm sure more films will follow.