Auto Focus (2002)

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The next film in the Back-to-School-Binge is the biopic featuring the life of Col. Hogan from CBS’s Hogan’s Heroes, Bob Crane.

Bob Crane was the lead star of the sitcom that ran six years, set inside a WWII German prisoner of war camp.  Crane had a secret life beyond the show.  He was a sex addict and would photograph and videotape all the women that he had sex with over the years.  In the end, Bob Crane wound up murdered in his hotel room in Scottsdale, Arizona, a crime that has never been solved.

Greg Kinnear played Bob Crane in this movie, showcasing the dark side of Crane’s life.  His initial meeting and befriending of John Henry Carpenter (Willem Dafoe), a home video salesman and technician, who hooked Crane up with the equipment and was right by his side through Crane’s addiction.

Many people believed that Carpenter was the man who murdered Crane, bludgeoning him with a camera stand before wrapping a cord around his neck, but he was never convicted.  In fact, Carpenter was found not guilty years later in a Scottsdale court.  Those who believe that Carpenter was the killer claimed that the Scottsdale police had botched the case and had lost much of the evidence.

The movie only touches on the murder and the after effect of the case.  Most of the film is the years from Hogan’s Heroes up to just prior to the murder.  Kinnear is extremely likable and you get the impression that Crane was a beloved individual who just could not control the excesses of his life.  There was an almost Jekyll-Hyde feel to the performance and Kinnear played it beautifully.

The film is very dark and disturbing.  It is an intimate portrait of a man whose own proclivities lead to his downfall, both professionally and physically.

classic

Image result for auto focus movie poster

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