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Genre: Mystery, Crime
Country: United States
Starring: Cary Elwes, Bruce Greenwood, Jeremy Akerman, David Brown, Venessa Brooks, Sam Jaeger, Kathleen Quinlan, Sarah Manninen
Director: Bill Eagles
Run time: 91 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
I wonder how Robert Keppel feels about The Riverman, out January 26th on DVD from Alliance Films. Keppel is the cop who is best known for tracking down serial killers Ted Bundy and David Ridgway (the Green River Killer). The Riverman is the story of Keppel and Dave Reichart, the two detectives who brought Ridgway to justice. The most famous part of that investigation was a series of interviews.
Those interviews took place between Keppel and Bundy, who was locked up after his own killing spree. Bundy helped Keppel catch the Green River Killer. Many people believe that the Keppel – Bundy interviews served as the inspiration for the Clarice Starling – Hannibal Lecter interviews in Silence of the Lambs, but author Thomas Harris says that this is not the case. That didn’t stop the people behind The Riverman from putting it on the DVD case though.
I don’t know how much of a selling point that would be anyway. The interviews that inspired Silence Of The Lambs are now being given the TV-movie treatment…I don’t know. It wouldn’t make me want to watch. The fact is, this isn’t a very good movie. It’s slow, it has little drama, and the outcome is a foregone conclusion if you know the story of Ridgway and Bundy and Keppel and so forth.
The reason I wonder how Keppel feels about this movie is that the film assumes that the viewer does not know anything about the Green River Killer case, and attempts to create some drama by suggesting that maybe Keppel himself is the killer. In retrospect, after watching the film, perhaps they were simply trying to insinuate that Keppel was dangerously “in the head” of the serial killers. But if that’s the case it was very poorly done.
The whole movie is pretty poorly done. Bruce Greenwood, who plays Keppel, is decent. But he isn’t given much to work with. Cary Elwes is…better than usual…as Ted Bundy, but aside from having the same haircut and acting vaguely creepy, there isn’t much for him to do either. Then they catch the killer, it’s all over, and it’s very anti-climactic. Meh.