Killing Me Softly
Financial desperation is a horrible feeling; your pulse races when the phone rings, you become frightened to open letters it can basically lead you to doing some desperate things. In the case of "The Accidental Witness" we are lead to believe that one character is so desperate that he will murder his boss so that he can convince the boss's grandson to go through with a lucrative merger which will in turn solve all his financial worries. Sounds far fetched doesn't it and unfortunately that is not the only far fetched element of "The Accidental Witness" which desperately wants to be a thriller but rarely thrills. Some say you shouldn't be surprised seeing that it is a TV movie but there are some good TV thrillers out there, "The Accidental Witness" just isn't one of them.
As a senior partner at Brunel Global Securities Victor Sandeman (Currie Graham - Behind the Mask) is desperate for Raymond Brunel (Don MacKay) to agree to a lucrative merger as he is in deep financial trouble. With Raymond opposes the idea Victor decides his best chance is to murder the old man and then when his grandson takes over persuade the naive David (David Lewis) to agree to the merger. But things go wrong as having murdered Raymond and on the way to make it look like he died in a car crash Victor runs into the back of para legal Christine Sternwald (Natasha Gregson Wagner - Angel in the Family) and having told her he was Raymond, as he was driving Raymond's car, now has to try and silence her as well.
So as already mentioned the set up to "The Accidental Witness" is financially desperate Victor killing his boss because he won't agree to a lucrative merger. And so we watch as Victor murders him and covers his tracks by then staging an accident with Raymond at the wheel except an accident with Christine puts his plans in jeopardy. And so after about the first 20 minutes which sees Raymond go up in flames we have a movie all about Victor trying to silence Christine. Not only is it far fetched from Victor having the know how to murder Raymond and cover his tracks but also quite stupid because in a walking cliche Victor is a little bit of a klutz, he messes things up. I say stupid because when you think about it logically if Victor has the gumption to kill someone, which he does far too easily with out any remorse, surely he would have the gumption to cook the books or something.
And it is just as stupid when you watch him make one hash of killing Christine after another, making silly mistakes which eventually combine to make her suspicious. Maybe I was expecting too much seeing that "The Accidental Witness" is a TV movie but it all seems so poorly constructed and whilst we are meant to suspect that one desperate mistake leads to another it pushes your levels of acceptance too far.
To be honest far fetched wouldn't have been an issue if "The Accidental Witness" had been generally thrilling but so much is sign posted that you end up waiting for certain things to happen. A scene where Christine's boyfriend warns her that the hammer gun packs a punch makes it so obvious that at some point she will end up using it to defend herself. And when Victor breaks into Christine's apartment to try and kill her it is so obvious that he will end up killing Maggie her flat mate because every effort is made so that we know it is Maggie going home and not Christine. It means that "The Accidental Witness" ends up seriously dull and whilst there is an action finale, as you would expect, it does little to really grab your attention.
Probably the most interesting thing about "The Accidental Witness" is that it stars Natasha Gregson Wagner, the daughter Of Natalie Wood and step daughter of Robert Wagner. But to be honest the character of Christine is not only a cliche but a poorly written one that it doesn't really give Natasha a chance to shine. In fact at times it feels like Natasha has been cast as she looks good alongside love interest Jeff played by Aaron Pearl although not only is the chemistry weak but the romantic subplot is weaker. Other than Natasha Gregson Wagner there is Currie Graham as Victor and whilst the action of Victor trying to kill is far fetched at least Graham gets across the sense of desperation that money worries can bring.
What this all boils down to is that "The Accidental Witness" is not a good movie, in fact even for a TV movie it is disappointing. Between being far fetched and not that thrilling it struggles to really get your attention and on the occasion it does it quickly loses it again.