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Laramie Movie Scope:
Murder at 1600

A whodunit with a strong cast and script

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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April 27, 1997 -- "Murder at 1600" is a by-the-numbers conspiracy movie along the lines of "Absolute Power" which, like its predecessor, benefits from a strong script and good actors.

Conspiracy nuts would eat this one up, except that the wrong people are behind the conspiracy to cover up the real killer of a woman in the White House. Instead of the Trilateral Commission, it turns out to be a very different bunch.

Just like in "Absolute Power," which came out earlier this year, there's a murder in the White House and there are people at the highest levels of authority covering up the truth about whodunit.

Secret Service spooks swoop in and scoop up all the evidence and hide it in the name of "national security" from D.C. detective Harlan Regis (Wesley Snipes). An agent, Nina Chance (Diane Lane) is assigned to Regis to make sure he doesn't find out the truth.

Of course Regis, a smart cop, and his trusty sidekick, detective Stengle (Dennis Miller) manage to piece together enough evidence to find out who was really responsible for the woman's death, with the aid of Chance, who has a change of heart about framing an innocent man for the murder.

There are a number of red herrings in the film to throw the viewer off the track of who is behind the deed. It eventually comes down to a race against time for Regis, Stengle and Chance (or was that Evers to Tinker to Chance?) to head off a big government catastrophe.

There was one movie cliche in the film that was so obvious, I had my fingers in my ears in advance. O.K. class, if you are a character in a film who is about to reveal a big government conspiracy, should you (A) - hide in a steel vault, or (B) - stand in front of a ground floor window with the drapes open? Multiple choice questions are so easy, aren't they?

Despite the obviousness of the plot, the film works well because of deft direction by Dwight H. Little and good acting by the three people mentioned above, who really work well together. The writers, Wayne Beach and David Hodgin, create interesting characters and kept me guessing on the mystery for most of the movie. There's also some interesting camera work, including an overhead shot of a janitor waxing a floor with what appears to be the breast stroke. I give the movie a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1997 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)