All Round Mess

Andrea Roth and Kim Schraner in All Around the Town (2002)

When a popular college professor is murdered many mourn his death but his wife Karen (Nastassja Kinski) is fully aware that he had a reputation as a flirt and a womanizer. It is because of his reputation that one of his attractive students Laurie Kinmount (Kim Shraner) is the prime suspect especially after they had a public row. This makes things complicated as Laurie's sister Sarah (Andrea Roth) the D.A. and who of course is in charge of prosecuting the case. With Laurie unable to remember what happened on the night of the killing Sarah and detective Brandon Moody (Ron Lea) wish to use a psychiatrist to unlock Sarah's mind but having been kidnapped as a child what is revealed may be more than anyone can cope with.

A child kidnapped, sisters at a funeral, one has a breakdown in church, the other sister visits a psychiatrist to discuss the other sister's mental instability. It's an incredibly messy start to "All Around the Town" which jumbles up the back story narrative and introduces some characters including a TV evangelist before then launching in to what is the main story. But it is still an incredible mess once the main storyline kicks in with a jumble of storylines flying back forth making it feel like who ever adapted Mary Higgins Clark's novel had to do a hatchet job to condense it down in to 90 minutes. The irony is that "All Around the Town" is less than subtle and so every plot element is incredibly obvious.

Because the storyline seems to have been sliced and diced so has the character development which has the knock on effect of not a single character coming across as real. All the actors have to force their characters to get across their demeanour so Kim Shraner is seriously over the top when it comes to her characters mental instability and split personality whilst Tobias Moretti as the TV evangelist is so phoney that there is no way you take his character seriously. This has a knock on effect of making it a movie which becomes about the actresses looks rather than their characters.

What this all boils down to is "All Around the Town" just doesn't work and to me it suffers from what seems a story which has been hacked about to fit in to a reasonable running length but losing too much in the process. Because the flow has been lost everything about it has to be in your face from forced characters to unsubtle plot elements and with so much going on it is simply a mess.

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