Not a Perfect Movie
As a fan of made for TV movies I have watched a few of these true story movies which are based on the murder of a child although more often than not they tend to be about child abductions. And to be honest these movies tend to play like a dramatization for those who already know the story. Now that is a problem for me as the majority of these movies tend to be based on American true stories which had media coverage in the States but not in the UK and so I often find these movies hard work, flawed by the need to have some sort of previous knowledge. I hoped that issue wasn't going to be the case of "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenĂ©t and the City of Boulder" because this made for TV dramatization extends to a lengthy 178 minutes as it was originally screened as a two part TV-mini drama. But unfortunately whilst "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenĂ©t and the City of Boulder" certainly gives a more detailed look into this true crime, the botched investigation and media coverage it becomes laborious and overly complicated by a collection of characters which arrive and disappear making it hard to follow.
So "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenĂ©t and the City of Boulder" is a dramatization of the police investigation into the murder of six-year old JonBenĂ©t Ramsey who was found in the basement of the family home 8 hours after the family had called the police saying she had been abducted and had been left a ransom note. This drama unfolds in several ways as we see how the parents are the prime suspects with several discrepancies in their statements. We see how there is friction between the police and the DA's office over the way the case should be handled with mistakes made along the way and peoples careers being put on the line. Plus we see how the media's coverage leads to further issues from leaks within the police force to intrusion in to the family as they pursue the guilty parent angle.
Now all of the above makes "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenĂ©t and the City of Boulder" certainly a very detailed movie which tries to cover all these different angles in detail so that the viewer can understand where things went wrong, why certain things happened and so on. But ironically despite going into far more detail than a normal TV movie manages to achieve it still feels like you still need the prior knowledge of the true crime to fully understand the ins and outs of the case. Not only that the first half of "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenĂ©t and the City of Boulder" engulfs us with so many characters who suddenly appear that it is hard to really get to grips with who is who, who they work for and what part they have to play in the bigger picture. It becomes frustrating as "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenĂ©t and the City of Boulder" had the potential to be one true crime TV move which worked for those without the prior knowledge.
The knock on effect of all these characters is with the exception of Ronny Cox and Marg Helgenberger who play John and Patsy Ramsey the rest of the cast struggle with their anonymous characters. Yes we see some characters get into heated discussions whilst others are incensed by being made scape-goats and a lot more but many of these characters fail to really involve the audience in what they are up to or going through.
What this all boils down to is that in the end "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenĂ©t and the City of Boulder" is sadly an overlong TV drama which whilst certainly going in to more detail than a regular TV movie which covers a true crime it also overly complicates matters by involving far too many characters.