Ossus Library Index Drama Movie Index

MURDER AT 1600

Directed by Dwight H. Little (1997, Warner Bros.)
Starring Wesley Snipes, Diane Lane, and Alan alda

A Washington detective is brought in to investigate a murder at the White House, but is blocked at every turn.

 

 

2 stars

January 16th, 2000 on TV

 
   

This movie was rather difficult to classify.  It was definitely a drama, but there was quite a bit of action mixed in.  It was interesting, but I think the producers, or writers, went to too much trouble to make things more complex.  Instead, they made it complicated.  A side issue is brought in to explain the murder, which seems like a cheat.

The story is really quite simple.  The national security agents are trying to cover up the murder of one of the White House employees.  They have given a motive and means to the president's son, since her agenda notes that she was about to sell some information to a talk show, then leave the country, and the president's son was her lover.  There is even indirect and unconfirmed evidence that she was also the president's lover. 

A Washington homicide detective is called in on the case, because it is known that the secret service will cover up the case, and the detective will not give up on it, even if everything he tries to do is classified. 

He gets the runaround for quite a while before he realizes that he is being set up.  It was quite an interesting mystery, that degenerates into chase scenes once he figures this out.  He and his White House attaché find out who has set them up, then make their way into the White House by the underground passages to confront him, and to save the president from resigning. 

The motive for the murder is just to get the president to resign.  Nothing more.  For there is a crisis in Korea, where US troops have been left behind.  It's nice to have a simple motive for once, but it would be nice if it didn't come out of left field. 

The real meat of the story, though, is the murder itself.  There are a number of cleverly hidden false leads, and we are as confused as the detective is by them until he figures it out.  But the video where they figure it out is a little too subtle.  Do they know exactly what every one of the 31 people in the White House at the time of the murder looks like, enough to see him on a full length video tape? 

The acting was decent, though not great.  The movie itself was neat, though little more than that.

 
   

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