Sunday, October 25, 2020

An Imperfect Murder: Movie Review

Lacking a narrative, purpose, intrigue and everything that comes with that.

Whatever this movie was supposed to be, or whatever it once was, it’s not that. Originally titled The Private Life of a Modern Woman and playing the Venice Film Festival in 2017, it gets released three years later and renamed An Imperfect Murder. Never a good sign. I have no idea what made somebody dust this film off the shelf, but it should have remained buried.   2017

Directed by: James Toback

Screenplay by: James Toback

Starring: Sienna Miller, Alec Baldwin

The opening sequence is classical music playing over images of classical paintings intercut with a physical altercation between the protagonist and her ex-boyfriend. This set us up for a gloriously bold, over-edited mess of a film and then it gets worse from there. Random scenes with no clear narrative, and butchered into a worse movie than whatever version played at Venice years ago.

Clocking in at a hasty 65 minutes (before end credits), it looks like they accidentally cut the entire story from the movie and left it on the editing room floor. There are scenes in the trailer that are not in the movie and that should have caused somebody to think maybe this isn’t the version to release. But alas, here we are.

Sienna Miller stars as Vera. The movie tells us she’s an actress, but I got the impression that she’s a writer. Regardless, she’s a very fractured person, and apparently has a hard time separating reality from fiction. The story that the movie was supposed to convey was that she had a nightmare that she killed her ex-boyfriend, and then wakes up to discover that it actually happened.

The scenes that follow include a therapist who just shows up at her house unannounced, spews some psychobabble about how fractured she is and how her depression is affecting her life, and then launches into a theory that she is hiding a second lurid sex life and phrases it with “Maybe I’m being too forward here”. Answer, yes you are, you’re a creep who should not be a therapist. With a 15-minutes scene, he serves no other purpose in the movie except to give an idea into her state of mind.

Then her current boyfriend walks in wanting her help with his grad school thesis. She’s rude, irritable, dismissive and breaks up with him just to get him out the door. Could be understandable, as she apparently just murdered her ex-boyfriend the night before, but he serves no other purpose. Alec Baldwin as the detective investigating the ex-boyfriend’s disappearance shows up for one scene. And then we have a 20-minute dinner with her grandfather suffering from dementia and repeating life facts, followed by wine with a strange old man who showed up looking for her grandfather who had just left.

That’s it. No further investigation into the murder she apparently committed. All that can be ascertained is that she is a psychologically fractured woman who might have killed somebody, all playing with some really bizarre music choices. I hope I have saved you an hour of your life.