Torso of Evidence
Considering "Torso: The Evelyn Dick Story" is a made for TV movie it is quite impressive and manages to rise above the usual look and issues with often cause TV movies to seem cheap and some times nasty. But despite having a much better look than the norm and a far more interesting story to the norm "Torso: The Evelyn Dick Story" ends up feeling wrong because of its focus. What to me the focus should have been on is the story and the suggestion that Evelyn was in fact being manipulated by and covering for her controlling parents but instead the focus seems to be more on making Evelyn appearing like a sexy femme fatale, a red lipped man eater which ends up spoiling it.
When two boys discover the rotting torso of a body in the woods the police quickly identify it as John Dick the husband of Evelyn Dick (Kathleen Robertson - Scary Movie 2). On visiting Evelyn Inspector Wood (Callum Keith Rennie) becomes highly suspicious of her due to her lack of emotion over her husband's murder especially when after following her for a few days notices she leads a very flirtatious lifestyle. With enough evidence Evelyn finds herself arrested and found guilty in court where she is sentenced to hang but then is represented by J.J. Robinette (Victor Garber - Call Me Claus) who manages to get her quitted on appeal. But the case is far from over...
So there is no denying that "Torso: The Evelyn Dick Story" has a grizzly story to tell and there is more to it than I have mentioned in that short synopsis which you can easily discover by heading over to wikipedia and searching for Evelyn Dick. What is interesting about the way the storyline is portrayed in this made for TV movie is that whilst detailing the facts of the case it also suggests that Evelyn was abused by her parents who even as an adult had control over her and so she was covering for them. That certainly makes it interesting as does the way the story unfold as bit by bit we learn more about this gruesome true story.
Now as I said for a TV movie this is quite impressive as it certainly has a superior look with good settings, costumes and make-up making it look authentic. At the same time director Alex Chapple also deserves credit for the effective use of close ups to hide budget deficiencies whilst creating atmosphere and a touch of noir.
The trouble with "Torso: The Evelyn Dick Story" is that far too often the movie seems to be more focussed on Evelyn the character rather than the story of the murder. Now there is no denying that Kathleen Robertson plays her part well delivering a classic femme fatale with that bright red lipstick, dark hair and pale skin making her look very sexy whilst Robertson brings out that seductive side but it ends up dominating the movie. This is even more apparent when the supporting cast which includes Brenda Fricker and Victor Garber end up coming across as very ordinary.
What this all boils down to is that "Torso: The Evelyn Dick Story" is a very good movie considering it is a made for TV movie and it covers a fascinating true story. But sadly it ends up dominated by the portrayal of Evelyn which is full on compared to the other performances.