Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 17th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2008
Director: Joseph Parker
Writer: Guy Warren
Cast: Nichole Donje, Laurence Cantor, Joseph A. Halsey, Anne Richardson, Matthew McDonagh, Dan Matisa, Joseph Mesiano, John Monte, Noura Jost
DVD released: January 19th, 2010
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Digital Shadow Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $17.99
Synopsis: A cold case is reopened after new evidence comes forward. The detective assigned to the case, discovers that her past holds the answer to an unsolved murder. Will her connection to the case cloud her objectivity or will she face her past head on?
The bulk of the plot is told through a series of flashbacks. The main character in the film is a detective named Laura Posey and the crime she is investigating happened in 1963, when she eight years old. Her lack of childhood memories are linked to a childhood trauma that is directly linked to the case she is now working on. On the surface the small town that she has spent her whole life in appears to be a community of wholesome values. While lurking in the shadows are adulterers, addicts and pedophiles.
If anything, this film’s only misstep is that she is given a case for which she clearly has a personal connection and in normal circumstances she would have been removed because of this. The film does a good job laying the foundation for its shocking ending. Even though this is a film about a murder that has been covered up for forty plus years, the actual murder only serves as the anchor for what is essentially a character driven piece.
From a production stand point the flashback scenes which take place in 1963 are all convincingly pulled off as the film does a remarkable job recreating this era’s look. One of the main players in this film is a character named Elder Frank Maltese. It is appropriate that the man at the center of the unsolved murder is named Maltese. Since this film at times feels like a modern day update of the 1940’s detective films like The Maltese Falcon. This film’s greatest asset is its cast. There is not a performance that is lacking with the majority of the cast giving outstanding performances that further make the characters they are playing all the more tangible. Ultimately The Maltese Murder Mystery a well made thriller that with each new revelation it cleverly draws you into its web of deceit.
Digital Shadow Films presents The Maltese Murder Mystery in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This is a strong looking transfer that has nicely saturated colors, healthy flesh tones and solid black levels.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. The audio is in great shape as everything sounds clear and balanced throughout.
Extras for this release include a production slide show with music from the film playing in the background, a trailer for the film and trailers for other films also released by Digital Shadow Films and a behind the scenes “Making Of” featurette (13 minutes 22 seconds). Additional extras can be accessed when you register your purchase on Digital Shadow Films website. Overall The Maltese Murder Mystery gets a well rounded DVD release from Digital Shadow Films.