The BOSTON STRANGLER does a serviceable job of emulating a David Fincher thriller. Yet, the challenge with consolidating such a well-known story within two hours is that it “strangles” any empathy audiences have for the characters. Instead, I would have preferred the cast to have an opportunity to “catch their breath” on a limited TV series that emulates MINDHUNTERS or even BLACK BIRD.
I understand why Matt Ruskin (writer/director) wanted to tell this story about the BOSTON STRANGLER. By focusing on two women reporters, Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley) and Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), audiences get to see a unique story. We’ve seen countless investigative movies with men that lose their families by passionately focusing on their careers. But it’s rare for a true story of the 60s with two strong women that act on their instincts in a murder case. Yet, this makes sense. The BOSTON STRANGLER’s theme is about police and society putting women as second-class citizens. And on that front, it succeeds.
Of note in BOSTON STRANGLER are the captivating performances by Knightley and Coon. I’ve been a HUGE fan of Coon since THE LEFTOVERS, and she continues to impress. As for Knightley, it’s encouraging to see her stretch to play such a hard-edged lead versus the romantic types she usually gets typecast as. I’m excited about what she does next.
Back to BOSTON STRANGLER. If you need a serial killer thriller that checks all the boxes, this one does that. But don’t expect it to stick its “neck” out to be something different.
It’s available on Hulu.