Boston Strangler

We need a good story for the papers.

The second film version about the Boston Strangler comes to Hulu this week under the name “Boston Strangler.” What else? The killer has murdered 13 women in Boston between 1962 and 1964, and the suspect goes by by the name of Albert DeSalvo, based on his confession and DNA evidence linking to the final victim. However, following his conviction, it was conceivable that the crimes were committed by more than one person. That’s what I’ve been told, as I’ve never heard about this case before. I never even learned about in school. So, I apologize if I don’t know all of my history, but I’ll try to keep adapting.

This version wants to represent womanhood-the kind when women can do men’s jobs without taking “No” for an answer. And I know men and women can have the same jobs, especially since my mother and grandmother both have their words. But unfortunately, this made-fro-Hulu version is a missed opportunity. It’s more dull than it is powerful in a “Spotlight” meets “Zodiac” sense. I was hoping for the vibe, but somehow “Boston Strangler” loses that touch.

Keira Knightley plays Loretta McLaughlin, the reporter who, along with Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), broke the story about the strangler. The movie opens with her asking her boss (Chris Cooper) to cover it, him denying her request saying she has no experience in covering homicides and her asking him: “How am I supposed to get experience if you won’t give me a shot?.” Eventually, he comes around, and responds: “All right, but you’re still on the Lifestyle desk.”

Getting the story out there has its challenges with detectives (Alessandro Nivola and Rory Cochrane) not disclosing cases, Loretta’s husband (Morgan Spector) criticizing her for being more focused with the case than her family, and even the incarcerated DeSalvo (David Dastmalchian) being stabbed to death before he can talk to her. A lot of these elements seem typical, and never push themselves further. The difficulty of Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Kenton’s characters trying to expose the Catholic Priests’ dirty tricks was more challenging than how these characters can figure out if there was more than one strangler.

I know it sounds annoying that I would compare journalism movies to “Spotlight,” but that was basically “All the President’s Men” of the 2010s. It’s not as easy as it looks in the journalism world, because there are those who can’t speak, and there are rules to follow. “Boston Strangler” is not that challenging.

The performances are more entertaining than the story. Knightley does a good job portraying the woman intending to break the story in the ways she adapts with her American accent and keeps a persistent attitude in tact. Dastmalchian has the charisma of DeSalvo with his tone and appearance. And Cooper meets well with age as her boss, who comes around and learns to appreciate Loretta’s work.

“Boston Strangler” looks great with its serious and murky atmosphere, as it tries to remind us that this was like a real-life horror story. And I appreciate its ambition in trying to make these women as a strong as men in terms of their job goals. But the overall movie misses the right targets and has us floundering around without delving deeper into these real events. It feels more like a summary than an actual article worth publishing. Back to the editing room.

Rating: 2.5 out of 4.

Streaming on Hulu Tomorrow

Categories: Crime, Drama, History

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