Little Hope for Rachel
After the distress of hearing her best friend Rachel (Kristen Hager) being attacked and murdered as they spoke on the phone, Hope Webster (Kristanna Loken) finds herself heading to the city to deal with Rachel's apartment and finances with the help of Peter (Warren Christie) who she meets at Rachel's funeral. But what she discovers surprises her as not only had Rachel been splashing the cash on designer goods but she had also been racking up credit card debts. But that is only the start of the problems as Hope also learns that Rachel's boss, lawyer Meredith Cole (Angela Asher), is being pressured by a criminal and Rachel's death may be connected.
Now in all fairness "Ties That Bind" starts off reasonably well as we witness Hope on the phone to Rachel only to hear her being attacked, leaving her helpless on the other end of the line. The level of panic and fear may not be the most believable be it from Hope or Rachel but at least it's an interesting start. And that level of interest continues when Hope heads to the city to deal with Rachel's apartment following the funeral as she discovers the Rachel she grew up with certainly lived a very different life style to what she once did. From designer clothes through to a swanky apartment Hope suspects things are not right especially when she spots Rachel's profile on an escort site and that she'd run up $250,000 in credit card debt to live a life she couldn't afford. You do begin to question where all this is leading but at least it is once again an interesting set up.
But sadly this is as good as "Ties That Bind" gets as it's all down hill once Hope discovers the extent of Rachel's debts. Thanks to some terrible over acting we learn that Rachel's boss Meredith is being pressured by the son of a master criminal who she is defending and so immediately can assume that somehow Rachel's death is connected, despite the law thinking it's just a robbery gone wrong. And then there is the added subplot of Hope falling for the handsome Peter who turns up at Rachel's funeral saying that he had briefly dated Rachel and turns in to Mr. Helpful as he assists Hope in dealing with Rachel's apartment and debts.
But that is nothing compared to what happens next in "Ties That Bind" as we not only get one unsubstantiated twist but two with both ending up quite laughable. The first of these twists is so outrageous that you wonder what the writer was thinking because surely they knew that whilst creating a surprise it would also rival Bobby Ewing coming out of the shower in "Dallas" for being ludicrous. It doesn't help that following the twists we as the audience are treated like idiots with absolutely everything being explained in a spoon fed manner.
As for the acting well I hate to be cruel but it is a case of going from bad to worse. The bad is that Kristanna Loken who plays Hope and Warren Christie who plays Peter are wooden, delivering routine performances in cliche characters that lack any depth. The worse is that Luis Oliva who plays Bobby, the son of the criminal, is a caricature and Angela Asher who plays Rachel's boss Meredith over acts in every single scene with her attempts at acting nervous are almost comical.
What this all boils down to is that "Ties That Bind" is neither a good TV movie nor thriller. It starts off quite well but then becomes average before becoming over the top with a couple of outrageous twists. As such "Ties That Bind" is what I would call a background movie, the sort which you put on whilst doing something else.