Psychic Sleuthing

Valerie Bertinelli as Claire Bannion in Claire (2007)

A woman with psychic powers is called upon to help Police in investigating a series of murders, it's not the most original of premises which makes up TV movie "Claire" and whilst the psychic is personally involved in the case it doesn't add anything to make this feel any different to the countless other movies which use a similar story. That in itself is not really a big issue and "Claire" has the same light tone of say "Murder She Wrote" which makes it very easy to watch especially with Peter Jason doing a nice job of delivering much of the character based amusement. But the trouble is that the storyline has a flaw and that is it makes it too obvious who is doing the murdering early on and whilst it tries to serve up other possibilities you always know who it is going to be.

Shortly after moving back to the home where her husband Jack (Todd Allen) was raised, Claire Bannion (Valerie Bertinelli) is hit by tragedy when Jack dies in a fishing accident, which she gets glimpses of due to her psychic abilities. It is those psychic abilities which leads her to reluctantly help the police with a series of murders which are in someway connected and involve those nearest and dearest to her.

Peter Jason as Harry Bannion in Claire (2007)

To be totally honest "Claire" is a rather ordinary thriller which like so many TV movies is not that thrilling. If you've seen one of these movies where a psychic assists the police you will know exactly how it plays out and so as Claire helps out more and more the visions become clearer and the connections appear. It is basically stock and whilst we have the element that Claire's family are directly connected to the murders she is helping to investigate it does little to spice things up.

The trouble is that whilst routine it isn't bad except for the simple fact director Stephen Bridgewater makes it a bit too obvious who the murderer is. It's not explicitly said who but it doesn't need to be and so whilst as the movie progresses other possibilities appear they rarely make you question your feelings over who you think did it. And if it didn't make it blatantly clear enough early on there is a scene at the half way point that dispels all other possibilities involving a painting and that scene forces you to accept that none of the characters fail to see the obvious clue.

All of which means that not only is "Claire" a routine thriller but also one where the outcome is no surprise at all. The one thing it has going in favour is its tone because this has the light hearted sleuthing of "Murder She Wrote" especially with Peter Jason delivering much of the humour as the town's former sheriff who privately investigates the murders. In fact whilst the star of the movie is technically Valerie Bertinelli who plays Claire Bannion it is the amusement of Peter Jason which makes it entertaining.

What this all boils down to is that "Claire" is one of those TV movies which doesn't achieve what it sets out to do because it is both too routine and obvious. But as a bit of light hearted detective entertainment its a sort of pleasant distraction.

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