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'Murder, The'

At the Three Rivers Film Festival

Friday, November 15, 2002

By John Hayes, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

In the credits for the homegrown detective drama, "The Murder," corporate communications executive Greg Rempel lists himself as writer/director/producer. Having written a cunning script with at least one dark and jagged twist, he proves to be a competent producer, too, lining up funding for his latest low-budget, full-length, digital indie, and recruiting some of the city's best actors to bring his story to life.

'The Murder'

The Three Rivers Film Festival runs through Nov. 24, screening more than 40 films at the Harris Theater (809 Liberty Ave., Downtown), the Melwood Screening Room (477 Melwood Ave., Oakland) and the Regent Square Theater (1035 S. Braddock Ave., Edgewood).

Tickets are $6 each; $4 for the Unseen Cinema, Film Kitchen and Short Program. A Crazy Eight festival pass is $35. For more information, call 412-682-4111 or go to www.pghfilmmakers.org.

Here a review of one of this weekend's films.

Weekend Schedule
Three Rivers Film Festival


Two out of three ain't bad. Rempel sometimes wavers under the director's hat, with occasional lapses in continuity that force viewers to fill in absent phrases in the story line. At times, commercial videographer Barry A. Himes paints the streets of Pittsburgh with a mysterious noir element; other scenes are just poorly lighted.

But Rempel's engaging story and outstanding acting by the principals elevates "The Murder" beyond film school noodling. Nancy Bach fits snugly and convincingly into the role of a distraught mother whose child has been kidnapped in a bungled drugstore robbery-homicide. Left for dead by her attacker, Suzi Hofrichter's well-played victim recovers and is stalked by the killer, desperate to silence her before she can I.D. him. Curt DeBor gives the police detective a passionate, overzealous quality, and Tim Hartman is effectively abrasive as the sociopathic villain.

There are more reasons to see this film than familiar locations and a cast that gets the Pittsburghese right. Rempel almost gets away with "The Murder." He's barely three bricks shy of a load.

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