Kate (Alexxis Lemire - The Other Mother) works alongside Casey (Galadriel Stineman - Operation Cupcake) at an art gallery run by Robert (Stephen Graybill). It is where, whilst dealing with the cattiness of Casey, that Kate finds herself given the job of examining a collection of paintings which Daniel Sutter (Jordi Vilasuso - Killer Island), a handsome carpenter, inherited from his late grandfather. Whilst most of the paintings are pretty standard, one of them certainly grabs Kate's attention and also excites Robert when she shows him it as it seems to be by a Dutch master. But things start to become messy as there is murder, someone wants Kate to lie about where the painting came from and it seems that she can't be sure who she can trust.
Let me start this review of "Paint by Murder", which is also known as "The Art of Murder", by describing the characters. We have Kate who seems sweet, a little weak but there is something about her, about her eyes which at times seem dead, not all the time as she has a smile which softens them but it makes her a character we are not sure of. Then there is Robert who seems like a nice guy, a boss who likes his staff but he also has a side to him which suggests that he may have a dark controlling side to his personality which starts to emerge when ever things are not the way he wants. And then there is the handsome Daniel, a handyman with tools and looks like he is muscular beneath his shirts but also seems to have a slightly nervousness to him when it comes to people examining the paintings. There are other characters who also add to an air of uncertainty as to whether they are as they seem.
It is the uncertainty of the characters which make "Paint by Murder" kind of captivating as we question who the killer is but also what are the reasons of those involved who make us question what they are hiding. But this movie has a bit of a problem and it feels like director Alex Merkin has tried very hard to impose a style on the movie and not only does this give it an uneven pace but some of the artistic touches, such as the use of lens flare ends up too intrusive and spoiling things. It sounds wrong but people who tend to watch made for TV thrillers do so because they know what they are getting, not for the attempts to create style by the director.
What this all boils down to is that "Paint by Murder" certainly has some positives, especially when it comes to the characters as you are never quite sure of them. But at the same time the styling of the movie sometimes is too dominant and it spoils things slightly.