The Calculated Charmer
When his father is murdered and mum left maimed, gripping on to life by a thread, Chris Porco (Matt Barr) becomes the centre of attention as Detective Sullivan (Eric McCormack) is convinced he is guilty of murdering his father and almost his mother to get the insurance money. Whilst Sullivan struggles to find proof Chris claims that the detective has a vendetta against him and works his charm on the local women who support him in his claims of innocence, including his own mum who through out his life always forgave her son.
As I like to do with these movies based on a true story, especially ones about murder, I like to state my knowledge of the true story which in this case is zero. I have never heard of Chris Porco, the murder he is accused of or even seen a picture of the real Chris Porco. And as such I don't know how close to the facts "Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story" stays or whether it bends the facts with fiction to work as a movie, although my love of movies makes me expect that is the case. It also means that I watched to be entertained more than informed and yes "Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story" certainly entertains with an interesting style, enjoyable performances and a crispness to it which makes it feel trimmed down which works in it s favour.
So the first thing to mention about "Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story" is that it goes for this faux interview style so that we have scenes where Chris or another person involved talks to the camera about what is going on. So often we hear Chris bemoan Detective Sullivan's seeming vendetta against him whilst the woman who works at the Vets mention how much she trusted Chris and how he could never commit a crime as he was always such a nice guy. Most of these interview spots feature women which builds up this picture of a charmer, a cocky young man who flirted with women who fell for his looks and persona.
But then at the same time we have the dramatization of it all with Sullivan trying to find a single scrap of evidence against Chris, we see how before the incident things were tense between Chris and his parents especially over Chris taking out a loan in his father's name, forging his signature and plenty more, highlighting how forgiving his mum was to her son. In this almost disassembled way "Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story" paints this multi layered picture of what was going on; it gives us the family issues and the charade of Chris life on college as a wealthy young man as motive, we see how he charmed women to get them on his side and then we see Sullivan building his case and it keeps you entertained.
If "Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story" has an issue is that the performances felt generic. By that I mean that for the length of the movie I couldn't help but think how much Matt Barr looked like Ryan Gosling and almost had a Gosling thing going on with the whole nice guy charmer act. But then there is Eric McCormack who is solid as detective Sullivan but looks like he could have popped off of the set of something like NCIS to make this in his spare time, it is such a routine performance of a routine character.
What this all boils down to is that "Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story" is an entertaining take on a true crime story with a disassembled style which keeps you interested. But at the same time it has an almost generic quality which prevents it from standing out from the countless other true story movies based around real crimes which have been made over the years.