Murder, Most Likely

A review by Angela Pressland

Having read the book - and it's a big book - I'd come to the conclusion that it would be impossible to tell the extraordinary tale of Patrick Kelly in a two hour movie. His character was too complex, as were his criminal dealings. There was a miniseries-worth here and I anticipated feeling very cheated as the final credits rolled.

Kelly and MarieHow wrong can you be ... It was masterfully done ... the flashbacks, the statements made to camera in those documentary-style close-ups, Kelly's own narrative. And because there was so much ground to cover in such a short space of time, there were no wasted scenes. It was intense from the get go - not a beginning, middle and end type film. Murder, Most Likely leapt straight in, neither the momentum nor my attention dwindling.

As for Paul Gross, I think he gave the performance of his life. It's difficult to say more than that without sounding gushing but he was quite simply brilliant and his name should already be on an award for this. I spent over a week reading about Patrick Kelly and, to me, Paul's portrayal of him was like meeting the man himself. There were several scenes where he genuinely unnerved me but I think the one that really sticks in my mind is where Kelly and Marie have quarrelled and she is left slumped against a door as he starts to detail their financial situation on paper - "This is what Marie can sp-end." After everything he has put her through, she reaches out for him, he holds her tenderly (you almost believe that he's truly sorry) and then he maniacally runs through a series of feigned emotions, admitting he could keep it up all night. He made me run cold. And as if that were not enough, he then ordered her to 'fix herself up' so that she could join him and some others for drinks. I don't often swear at the TV but he made me despise him.

Paul Gross as Patrick KellyThe infamous balcony scene ... chilling. Absolutely chilling. I'm not squeamish but this made me feel physically sick. It sounds dreadful but I think I would have reacted less if it had been of the 'splat', followed by 'blood and guts' format. This was far too real - her clothes ripping and her jewellery snapping at the impact ... stomach-churning stuff. A scene that was to punctuate the film, repeated from the point of view of Kelly's various accounts of the tragedy and also from what April Trent said she saw from her parallel universe.

When I read the book, one of the questions I kept asking myself was: how did everyone get sucked in by Kelly - his friends, his women, the financial institutions? How could they be so fallible? To be honest, the whole thing began to read like a work of fiction. But Paul brought Kelly to life for me and having seen the film, I think my question has pretty much been answered. As for the bigger question: Did he do it? Well the film didn't provide any answers there - which was, oddly, not as unsatisfying as it sounds. I think it was right - and possibly from a legal point of view, necessary (not sure) - that it should have been dealt with in that way. For what it's worth, it's my opinion that he was more than capable of doing the deed. Should the man himself ever be released - and, quite frankly, in the light of the Taber fiasco why is he still in prison? - I think I'd carry a parachute as well as a personal alarm.

What a brilliantly powerful and disturbing film. Murder, Most Likely. TV and Paul Gross at their best, most definitely. I'm stunned.

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