Starring : Stephen Baldwin, Pete Postlethwaite, Sadie Frost, Geraldine
Chaplin, Karen Black
Crimetime sees a reversal in roles that George Sluizer's previous
film, The Vanishing. In The Vanishing, the hero found the only way
to discover what happened to his missing girlfriend was to put himself
in the hands of her abductor. In Crimetime the hero is driven to share
the experience of the killer instead of the victim, but beyond this
initial reversal, Crimetime then builds towards a similar climax.
Bobby Mahon (the youngest of the Baldwin brothers, Stephen) plays
the out-of-work actor who finds himself catapulted to fame when
he takes on the killer's role in the crime re-enactment programme,
Crimetime. His new gig means he becomes obsessed with the mechanics
of the murder, trying to get under the skin of the murderer and
going to the extent of picking just the right knife and tie for
his on-screen character.
He even pays the murder scene a visit and touches the cold cheek
of one victim. In one scene he says, "I just need to feel what
he felt".The talented Pete Postlethwaite (Romeo and Juliet,
Usual Suspects) plays the killer, Sidney, a television repairman.
He befriends unsuspecting women and kills them. Like most serial
killers, he prides in keeping something personal of each victim.
In this case it's their left stocking. And that's not all. In true
sicko style, he also finds it necessary to rips out the left eye
of each of his victims to be kept in his souvenirs collection in
the basement refrigerator.
The audience is left guessing when it comes to Sidney's motive.
Could his killing pattern have anything to do with his wife (Geraldine
Chaplin, daughter of Charlie) who is going blind and lapsing into
Throughout the film, the distinction between celluloid and real
life is hazy for both Sidney and Bobby. Sidney's infamy as the stocking
murderer makes him something of a celebrity while he's still at
large, while Bobby appears on talk shows to debate violence in the
The blurring of the lines continues as Sidney begins to imitate
his glamorised image and dons a three-piece suit and a fancy tie
during his nightly stalkings. Literally dressed to kill, Sidney
is badly beaten by a tough female victim, soiling his new attire.
It's only by accident that he manages to kill her, as he does so
complaining: "Look at the mess I am in. How do you think they
are going to put that on television?".
Incapacitated, he's unable to commit any further murders and Bobby
finds himself suddenly out of a job, while Sidney is able to offer
him the chance of knowing what it's like to kill someone. Bobby
is in fact rewarded, with a role in a Hollywood to play the film
version of his own story.
Throughout the episodes of the Crimetime TV programme, Val (Sadie
Frost) is always cast to play the victim, donning different wigs
and clothes to suit the persona of each victim. As in reality, she
plays second fiddle to the murderers. It's the likes of Jeffrey
Dahmer and Charlie Manson that enjoy the media attention while the
poor victim is sadly forgotten.
In short, Crimetime deals with virtual reality and fake violence.
Its message is clear -- what you see on TV is sometimes more real
to people than what they see on the street. How very true.