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A slight case of murder

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

A slight case of murder is a funny, suspenseful comic thriller that offers the surprising twists and turns of such classic films as Dial M for murder and Blood simple. Terry Thorpe (William H Macy) is a small-time film critic whose amoral behaviour - adultery, larceny, possibly murder - finally starts to catch up with him when a quirky Detective Fred Stapelli (Adam Arkin) gets on his case.

Theatrical propaganda posters

+ theatrical one sheet image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film crime comedy murder thriller film critic

Persons of interest

  • William H Macy .... Terry Thorpe
  • Adam Arkin .... Detective Fred Stapelli
  • Felicity Huffman .... Kit Wannamaker
  • James Cromwell .... John Edgerson
  • Julia Campbell .... Patricia Stapelli
  • James Pickens Jr .... Detective Larry Gray
  • Paul Mazursky .... John Brant
  • Vincent Pastore .... Cabby
  • Michael McMurtry .... Scott
  • Stephanie Belding .... Laura Penny
  • Vik Sahay .... Bob
  • Len Doncheff .... Mr Petrovsky
  • Vito Rezza .... Captain O'Donnell
  • Donald E Westlake .... Author: A travesty
  • William Schachter .... Screenwriter
  • Steven Schachter .... Screenwriter
  • Steven Schachter .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

  • A slight case of murder official movie site
  • Studios and distributors:

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

A slight case of mayhem!

Taking the piss out of every noir detective thriller you ever saw, this film also manages to nail a pack of bastards right between the eyes: the film critics.

The film critics are a bunch of tossers who aren't good enough to work in the movie industry so they hang around the outskirts where the bright lights barely reach, like a pack of rabid hyenas hooting and howling around the carcass of a wildebeest, waiting for the leopard to eat its fill, their eyes glowing redly insane on the twilight savannah.

Wait, hang on, I am a critic! Ummm... er.... damn, I just shot myself in the foot. Oh, well, it was bound to come out some time.

Moving right along, A slight case of murder is a hoot and a howl, not only for its fine appreciation of the genre but also for the way it tears it to pieces. Noir thrillers have been around for so long that they suffer from cliché before the first scene is shot. This film raises those clichés to the heights they deserve. If you're a movie aficionado you'll enjoy not only the story itself, but the many in-jokes and references to other films (count 'em, there're heaps!)

If you're a spoof fiend, A slight case of murder is on a par with The imposters, full of losers leading pathetic little lives, alternately worshipping and tearing down those with less obviously pathetic little lives. If you like William H Macy in the other stuff he's done, you'll enjoy him here: he balances tongue in cheek with the sense of realism required to make the whole thing work. Adam Arkin is less impressive but that's due to the character rather than the portrayal; Terry Thorpe is the only logical and rounded character because everything is seen through his eyes. That the people he meets are one-dimensional is due to the way he sees the world: like a B-movie unfolding on an Imax screen.

This film is a good laugh for grown-ups who view life with a sense of cynicism. If you've had an irony bypass you won't understand it at all.

Security censorship classification

M (Low level violence)

Surveillance time

90 minutes (1:30 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 6 June 2000

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