Review: A Slight Case of Murder (1999 movie)

My old friend and fellow Westlake fan Dave Locke recommended this amusing made-for-cable adaptation of Donald E Westlake’s novella A Travesty (published together with another story in a book titled Enough, in case you happen to want to look for it), and it’s definitely worth seeing. In fact, it won the 2000 Edgar for Best Television Feature or Miniseries, and William H Macy’s performance was nominated for an Emmy, which makes me a little surprised that I never heard of the film until Dave mentioned it.

Macy (who co-wrote the screenplay) plays a film reviewer who tries to cover up his presence in his girlfriend’s apartment at the time of her accidental death. He’s afraid it might look like he killed her, and he also doesn’t want his other girlfriend to find out he was seeing someone else. The resulting escalator of complications develops into a pretty funny black comedy film noir (comédie noir?) with an excellent cast that includes James Cromwell (never trust a man who steals the idea of warp drive from his own pig) as a crooked private detective in a very old toupée, Adam Arkin as the lead detective investigating the murder, Felicity Huffman as Macy’s other girlfriend, Julia Campbell as Arkin’s attractive wife, et al. Macy narrates by talking to the camera, and I found that at times a little annoying, but aside from that trivial gripe, I think anyone with a taste for black comedy would enjoy this.

You can see the trailer here. (Sorry I wasn’t able to embed it in this post.)

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