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Film Review: “Boston Strangler” (2023)


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The system has always been corrupt. Whether it’s within the government or the justice system – it has always been biased toward the side which has either more power or money. Therefore, there is always a need for a whistleblower who can uncover the truth and reveal it to the world. Journalism, or journalists, for that matter, have always risked their lives for the sake of keeping the public informed. But it takes a few to go beyond to find the sinister and dark pattern of ones who should have been caught and held behind bars for good.

The film is based on the true events of the Boston Strangler, who killed 13 women in the 1960s. The police seem to have no leads. Local detectives are washing their hands and are very passive in investigating murder cases. A reporter from Boston Record American named Loretta McLaughlin, portrayed by great Keira Knightley, began her investigation of three elderly women who were raped and killed by strangulation in Boston. As she begins to dig deeper, she finds a similarity in all three murder cases and begins to connect them with one another. She knows it’s perhaps a serial killer and informs the police about it. But in the 1960s, as you can imagine, what would the police say about a woman coming to them with a piece of advice? What does she know about how the police work, right?

All the victims had stockings tied around their necks. Thus far, Loretta was able to identify that pattern. But when she asks her editor (Chris Cooper) to assign her an article to write about her findings, he was at first reluctant. But once he agrees for her to write up about the Boston Strangler, it turns into a public sensation, uproar, and fear that the serial killer is still out there and police do little to catch him. Written and directed by Matt Ruskin, “Boston Strangler” pretty much retells the same story you might have heard before. But if you have not, get ready for a wild ride. Even if you are one who considers yourself very informed, “Boston Strangler” will provide you with an intense and scary perspective as to what the public could have gone through at times when the fear of being outside alone, or even living alone in an apartment could have been more or less a death sentence.

That being said, the stellar cast, lead by Keira Knightley, Carrie Coon, Alessandro Nivola and Chris Cooper, “Boston Strangler” is an excellent thriller that is more dynamic than any action movie. It gives credit to journalism and importance of one person doing their job to fulfil public service. Loretta McLaughlen had to go against all odds and heavy sexism and the justice system to perform her duty as a journalist. It was tough, difficult and most of the time, she had to face the wide shut doors against her face. But she was able to go through them, find a way to carve one little detail after another to deliver the story this wonderfully directed film tries to retell. Whether it was successful or not, is up to you to decide. As for me, it did just fine for me to rewatch it as many times as I want.

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