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Prime time crime
Directed by George Sluizer
Crime Time
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.
Crime Time

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 catatonia?

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 media.

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.

     

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