DVD Review: APPROPRIATE ADULT

DVD REVIEW:  Appropriate Adult 
REVIEWED BY: CINEMA LATTE
GRADE: 3 OUT OF 5 REELS
RELEASE DATE:  September 11, 2012
DISC INFORMATION: 1 disc, color, widescreen
RUNNING TIME:  135 minutes 
SPECIAL FEATURES:  None
RATED: Not Rated, would probably earn a PG-13
GENRE:  TV Miniseries/Drama/Crime
UPC:  815300010921
STARRING:  Emily Watson, Dominic West, Monica Dolan, Robert Glenister, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Anthony Flanagan, and Gerard Horan

Based on the true story about a man and wife serial killing team in Gloucester, England during the time frame of 1967-1987.  Fred and Rosemary West are brought in for the suspicious disappearance of their daughter after a rumor is started that they killed her and planted her in the garden.  Fred requests an “appropriate adult” — a guardian or community volunteer utilized to represent the vulnerable suspects and victims during the legal process.  Janet Leach, a mother of five and a housewife, is looking for a way to find meaning in her life and feels that volunteering is a way to do that. As the details are craftily laid out for the police in tidbits, Janet is pulled deeper and deeper into Fred’s world.  As the body count grows, so does Janet’s need for Fred and the feeling of being needed and important.

This two part mini-series made for TV is intriguing but leaves you trying to figure out when the drama will begin.  The cast is phenomenal and very creepily cast to represent the real-life characters.  But the lure of Fred to Janet remains amiss to the viewer.  

As Fred becomes more and more invested in Janet as his appropriate adult, the revelations of more murders and even more sinister acts is revealed.  Although the entire case is horribly fascinating and intriguing, the actual film itself seems to keep an arm’s length distance to the story.  Details are hinted at and there is never enough character exchange to make you feel like you have witnessed a birth of a relationship.

The fact that this husband and wife team killed at least 12 girls, including their own daughter, over a period of 20 years is incredible.  The only reason they were even caught is because their other daughter told friends at school that her sister was dead and buried in the backyard and it had become a family joke.  When a search in the backyard turned up 12 bodies, the family joke was anything but funny.

There is somewhat of a resolution in this film.  Although it was mentioned that there were more than just the 12 tortured and murdered girls, the only people who could have told where and how many more kill themselves and the remaining person refuses to talk and sits silently in prison.  

Because of the feeling of lack of character depth, I can only give this film a mediocre grade.  The cast is brilliant but the writing lacks investment.  The only intrigue in this movie is the revelations of the brutal murders but that only comes in tidbits as the film plays out.  

This is definitely a good TV movie, but because of the lack-luster writing, is not that wonderful.  Watson, West and Dolan are fun to watch but I have a feeling that if the story were written with deeper characters, we could have a brilliant movie.  For now, this is just OK.

That’s my review and I’m sticking to it.  
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