The Suspect (2013)

While under interrogation, ‘The Suspect’ (Mekhi Phifer) seems overly concerned that the police camera stays on at all times. But why?

A black man walks into a bank, pulls a gun on the cashier and demands $3 million in cash. Half-an-hour later, a man matching his description is picked up by the local police walking towards the town. Not only does he look suspicious but he is covered in dirt as if he has just been digging. Is it the same man? It’s worth noting here that this is a small mid-western town with a African-American population of zero. The police take him into custody, but soon it becomes clear that there is much more going on here than just a robbery. In fact no-one is who they initially apppear to be, not the chief-suspect or the apparently racist police…

This is an interesting set-up and could have made an intriguing film if events had been handled well and with subtlety. Sadly however, this has TV-movie written all over it – the acting isn’t quite true to life and the core concept (which I won’t spoil for you by going into detail) becomes more and more preposterous as the story unfolds. Even worse the director assumes you’re an idiot and when there are twists in the plot he insists on showing you flashback sequences detailing exactly what happened. This removes any mystery from the proceedings and robs your brain of the chance to build up it’s own picture of events (usually a powerful way of involving the viewer).

Positives : there are some, The movie keeps you guessing and the central character, Mekhi Phifer who plays ‘The Suspect’ certainly has charisma and screen presence, but it’s wasted here. To sum up an idea that initally shows promise but is handled badly 4/10

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