He Said, He Said
New Orleans, 1984 and a man grabbing his stomach, his shirt dark with blood exits a house whilst another man on the steps brandishing a knife threatens to kill him if he comes back. The blooded man is Bill Fontanille (Martin Kemp) who manages to make it to a hospital but in the meantime the other man Kerry Meyrs (Stephen Lang), his friend since college, calls emergency services and admits having been fighting with his friend and has stabbed him as his friend had gone mad after his wife left him. But it turns out their had been something else going on in the Myers house that night as Kerry's wife Janet (Lisa Blount) has been beaten to death with a baseball bat and their son seriously injured. The trouble is that Bill and Kerry's stories do not match up at all not only leaving D.A. John Thorn (Timothy Busfield) trying to make sense of it but also subsequent juries as the case goes to court.
First of the bat is that fact "Murder Between Friends" is based on a true story, one which can be found online if you care to look. But like with most movies based on true stories you have to accept that there will be alterations be it in the events which transpired or in the portrayal of characters. I mention this because having perused some reviews one of the common criticisms is that the characters in this movie fail to represent the real people.
The thing is that the characters are not what makes "Murder Between Friends" entertaining, although it has to be said that Timothy Busfield, Stephen Lang and Martin Kemp are all solid in their delivery of their characters. Nope, what makes "Murder Between Friends" is "Rashomon" as first up we have Kerry's version of events as he explains that William lost it after his wife left him and after hours of fighting with Kerry things got bloody and he suspects him of murdering his wife. And it all sounds plausible. Except when William is questioned he tells his version which revolves around Kerry discovering that he had been having an affair with Janet and it is just as plausible.
It is because these two conflicting stories are both plausible and there is no way of proving or disproving either that keeps you watching as you want to know what happened. And just as much you want to know how D.A. John Thorn will be able to make sense of it all.
The trouble is that whilst the sheer nature of the case is interesting "Murder Between Friends" as a movie doesn't quite bring the story to life. At times it feels like too much focus is placed on the fight between Bill and Kerry rather than working through the stories and back stories. It almost feels like it is trying to divert are attention with the shocking parts so that we don't pay too much attention to the detail.
What this all boils down to is that "Murder Between Friends" by sheer nature of being based on a true story is interesting. But unfortunately the end result doesn't quite come to life in the way it could have.