I have always been intrigued and fascinated by serial killers so when I saw that Hulu was having a film based on the Boston Strangler, I was looking forward to seeing it. I was not that familiar with this case heading in and, now that I have, I was unaware that this case may not have been the slam dunk that it seemed.
This film reminded me of David Fincher’s Zodiac. I will state right now that Zodiac was one of my favorite movies and Boston Strangler is not close to that masterpiece. However, there are distinct similarities between the two films.
This film follows the journalistic investigation from the newspaper the Boston Record American into the serial killer. Reporter Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley) was the first reporter to link the different Strangler victims together to indicate that they were connected. Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), a more experienced reporter, was assigned to work the story with Loretta by their editor Jack Maclaine (Chris Cooper).
Loretta and Jean faced not only the challenges of investigating these murders, but also the reigning feeling of misogamy among the police and in general during the early 1960s when this case was going on. Seeing how these reporters faced the sexist thoughts and words of the police was a fascinating layer added to this movie.
Albert DeSalvo (David Dastmalchian) became one of the leading suspects in the Strangler case and then wound up confessing to all 13 murders Some of the tricks pulled in this case by DeSalvo’s attorney F. Lee Bailey were really slimy. Bailey was not cast in this movie, as they simply spoke about the things that Bailey had DeSalvo do.
Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon worked extremely well together and they had a chemistry with one another. Knightley gave a Pitbull-like performance as Loretta and we got a chance to see (much like Jake Gyllenhaal’s character from Zodiac) how this case/investigation took a toll on the marriage.
The tone of this film was decent, but it was not as tense as some other films of this irk. The music was lacking on the soundtrack and that took away from the overall feel of the crime movie.
While this may not reach the epic levels of Zodiac, Boston Strangler is a fascinating watch and provided me with parts of this story that I was unaware of. I did not know that some believe that Albert DeSalvo did not murder all 13 of the women and that there were multiple people who committed these crimes. It may not be the greatest film of this subgenre I have ever seen, but I was engaged fully and anxious to see how the film would end up.