Movie #264 Manhattan Murder Mystery
(1993, US, d. Woody Allen)
Wonderfully written and directed, Manhattan Murder Mystery reminds me a lot of the Scream franchise, though the two films have nothing in common. A large part of the film had me laughing out loud and smiling in my head, simply because of Allen’s perpetually insightful dialogue. Like any of his other films, the simple, terse, but extended sequences of dialogue are the ones that make this film. Like the Scream films, Mystery will keep you laughing until, all of a sudden, something happens that scares the shit out of you. For some reason, fear is always delivered right to me when it’s done realistically. In real life, fear builds slowly and never starts off with something big. Just like that, in Manhattan Murder Mystery, nothing special happens in the first hour. In fact, all we have to base the entire film off of are the assumptions and suspicions of Carol Lipton (played by a young Diane Keaton), who thinks her next door neighbor may have murdered his elderly wife. A lot of the film relies on her recounting various encounters with the husband. We occasionally watch her investigate and these sequences turn comedic to tense very quickly, a compliment to the writing. Carol’s husband, of course, is the nagging and worrisome Larry Lipton (played by Woody Allen). It is the scenes that the two have together that make the movie. In bed together complaining before bed, on an elevator nagging to his wife, or even while out with his friends, Larry shares a wonderfully comical relationship with his wife, but also one that quite easily explains her search for a more masculine partner and perhaps even more of a friend. Someone she finds in Ted (Alan Alda), who starts to fuel her suspicions of foul play. The payoff in the film is deserved and well paced and if you’re into something more old-fashioned and intriguing stil, then by all means, go watch this movie on Netflix Instant.