Review – Clyde Cooper

Produced by: Souvenir Films
Written by: Peter Daskaloff
Starring: Jordi Vilasuso, Abigail Titmuss, Richard Neil, Aria Sirvaitis
Runtime: 81 minutes

Throwback films to the old detective noir era are always interesting, mixing what was essentially a simpler era with modern technology while still trying to have the same atmosphere. Clyde Cooper is the latest film to take on this tricky formula, putting itself in the near future and pitting a gumshoe detective against untraceable figures and mob-style opposition. We see Clyde hit the ground running with a classic case, trying to trace some steps on a basic missing person and finding himself tumbling down a rabbit hole of trouble.

For all it’s challenges Clyde Cooper delivers a simple and effective storyline with enough twists to keep it going. Just when one angle seems more or less the case, another clue drops, Clyde gets a new idea and the movie rolls with it. The device is active just enough for the film to not seem overly repetitive. As it does pay homage to this detective era, there’s flirtation, smooth talking, and general suave attitudes for all. For those unfamiliar, it might not have the fastest pacing but it is about the way it goes, dramatic moment, sudden interference or obstruction and try to find the trail again.

Jordi Vilasuso does his best to play it cool and calm, often throwing in pickup lines casually and playing them off innocently. While the smooth voice is an interesting change, it never really deviates in emotion, it’s awkward for the character as it robs it of some depth as everything is just constantly okay. Outside of the suave design of Clyde, there’s pretty much the vaping which replaces nervous cigarettes or cigars while they think and drink on the case. There’s almost too much mystery as to why he’s that calm in any situation. A troubled breath, hint of deeper fury would have gone further to develop Clyde more.

That said, overall Jordi and the cast do well with the film and at least keep a consistent bar, it’s a weird case, to say the least. For a detective that seems to like to keep it as simple as they can, it just pushes them well out of comfort. At just over an hour the film is pressed for storytelling but the cast gets through it without a hitch while also staying close to form as a classical mystery.

In the technical realm, the film plays out well, the depth of field creates a more immersive effect and the use of multiple camera angles helps give a fuller presentation vs a single camera setup. The audio mastering in public scenes has nice value with depth and atmosphere, letting the sound team enhance key moments with simple and eerie tones just at the right time. Lighting allows play between key characters, moments, and the background characters so nothing just goes into obscurity.

Detective stories are a challenge, reproducing those moments of the era with new technology available really makes for a troubling case. A detective doesn’t have to just go head to head with everyone on their suspect list necessarily and guessing games about prints or DNA are less likely to happen with accurate tools out there. Still, Clyde Cooper works to minimize the reliance on pure technology and goes back to snooping, rough Q&A, and having bad guys get lucky with the drop on him. For fans of tributes to the era, it’s a fun way to pass some time while still offering some fresh takes.

Review: Green River Killer: A True Detective Story

Green River Killer A True Detective Story
Writer: Jeff Jensen
Artist: Jonathan Case
Publisher: Dark Horse

Green River Killer A True Detective Story offers a very interesting take on a subject matter that seems to enthrall many of us, serial killers.  This subject matter is very disturbing to some (as it should be) but never ceases to draw us in because of the heinousness of these people and the crimes they commit.  I think theses stories are so attractive because the majority of us can never can fully understand why people do the things they do.  Green River Killer is not disturbing or graphic, rather, it is just interesting.  It shows that one can tell a story without having to be so explicit and shocking (think torture horror) and still tell a complex, engaging tale.  For lack of a better word, this is a quaint way to tell a gruesome tale.

Green River Killer is broken up into “days”, five of them.  Jumping back and forth in time from when the crimes were occurring to present day questioning of The Green River Killer.  The characters are done well, as they should be, the writer Jeff Jensen is the son of one of the main detectives, Tom Jensen, that was on the actual case and is obviously the main character.  The art, all done in black and white, is very good.  There is a stylized  feel to it and it really adds something extra to the story.

This is a really nice tribute from a son to his father.  It also gives a third party perspective to an event that the author was living through but still on the outside looking in.  My only gripe with the book is the constant message banging you over the head about “smoking is bad.”  We all know this, it was unnecessary and actually took away from the story a little bit.  One or two references to it would have been fine, we did not need thirty!

Release date: August 31, 2011
Price: $24.99