Gordon Currie and Cynthia Gibb in A Crime of Passion (2003)

A Passionless Crime

Cluedo time is the best way to describe "A Crime of Passion" another movie from the Mary Higgins Clark collection. If you don't know what that means then we have a couple of murders and a variety of suspects and we are kept in the dark until the final 15 minutes as to who the killer is where upon we get spoon-fed the motive just prior to the dramatic climax. It means that "A Crime of Passion" is a typical made for TV who dunnit which has the typical array of stupid moments as characters do things which no person in their right mind would do, but in a typical fashion "A Crime of Passion" is still mildly entertaining.

Having taken over her late father's shares in the wine business he set up with Thomas Shipman (Tom Butler), Frederica Dumay (Cynthia Gibb - Fatal Vows: The Alexandra O'Hara Story) has everything; money, a business partner she has known all her life and a new husband in Alan (Gordon Currie - Deadly Visions). But at a party at the Shipman home things take a turn for the worse when first she spots the curvaceous Arabella (Alexandra Kamp-Groeneveld) flirting with Thomas and then Thomas's wife ends up dead in the pond. Suspicious of what is going on and suspecting Arabella of being a money grabber as she starts dating Thomas before his wife's body is even cold Frederica visits her old friend Dale (Sebastian Spence) for help into looking into Arabella's past and what he finds makes her all the more concerned, not just about Arabella but also Alan as he has a secret he hasn't told her about.

Tom Butler in A Crime of Passion (2003)

As I try to review "A Crime of Passion" I feel like just saying that when you have seen one of these Mary Higgins Clark movies you've seen them all because whilst we have different characters, locations and actors they tend to have a familiar style and tone. As such when during the first 20 minutes we have a murder we also initially have a couple of people we suspect as we saw the woman is pushed. Later on when Frederica is almost crushed by a stack of wine boxes we have another person to be suspicious of as they seem to be conveniently close by to come to her rescue and then again later on when she is pushed down a hill, someone else just happens to be conveniently nearby to come to her aid. By the time "A Crime of Passion" gets ready for its climax a couple of those have been discounted but we still have a few characters who could have done it and there is no reason to suspect one over another.

This is where the killer is revealed and they have to spoon-feed us the motive as to why they did it because up until then we have no motive just characters who could have done it. It is annoying when movies do this, toss around some suspicious characters for a while and then pluck one and make up a motive for them. But that is not the only annoying thing about "A Crime of Passion" as like other TV movies we have characters doing things which are basically stupid such as Frederica heading off in to the woods to confront a dangerous man who is possibly Arabella's con artist partner. It is the sort of dumb thing to do you see in all these movies but it makes it none the less annoying to have to watch it happen again here.

The one thing which "A Crime of Passion" has going for it is that Cynthia Gibb is likeable, I did say Cynthia Gibb as her character is the usual sort of under-written character you typically find in these movies. It is the same through out with the rest of the cast failing to make any impression because of there stereotypical TV movie characters with the exception being Alexandra Kamp-Groeneveld who's curves make her eye grabbing rather than her character.

What this all boils down to is that "A Crime of Passion" is just another typical TV movie where we have a murder or two and a variety of suspects. Compared to other movies within this genre it is on par but that says little for a genre which has lots of common problems.