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"Crime Time" is a popular British television program that reenacts actual murders that occur each week. The objective of the show is not so much to aprehend the criminals, but to get high ratings. Bobby Mahon (Stephen Baldwin) is a struggling American actor living in London. His girlfriend works on the show and when a murder occurs, Bobby is hired to reenact the crime. He is an intense actor and takes a special interest in the crime in order to represent it properly. He goes to the crime scene and talks to the police who suspect that it may be the work of a serial killer. Bobby does a great job recreating the murder on TV and the producers are pleased with his performance. That night he gets a message on his answering machine from the real murderer commenting on his performance. He doesn't tell anyone. The murderer Sidney (Pete Postlethwaite) likes his glamorous representation on TV and starts to feel like a celebrity so he continues to murder just to watch it on television. Bobby decides not to say anything about it because he is enjoying being a celebrity himself and needs the work. The show becomes even more popular and Bobby and the producers of the show realize that their jobs depend on Sidney and want him to keep killing. Bobby feels some remorse but he becomes more and more obsessed with the murders and has regular contact with Sidney. His obsession destroys his relationship with his girlfriend Val (Sadie Frost) who is becoming scared of him. When Sidney suddenly stops killing, Bobby finds himself out of a job. Sadie tells him (half-joking, half-serious) that he should just continue the murders and play himself on television. Sidney calls him to apologize for not continuing his spree and says he has become Bobby and Bobby must now become him and continue his work. Bobby is a method actor but will he go through with it and commit murder? I don’t like to give away endings.
Crime Time is a highly original story and it really makes you think. Do crime shows make celebrities out of killers? Do they create crime rather than prevent it? The movie is so chilling because it is not very far-fetched. Ratings are more important than people.
Everyone’s perceptions are blurred throughout the film.
* Sidney cuts the eyes out of his victims because his wife is going blind.
*Sidney sees Bobby portraying him on television and starts to think he is Bobby.
* Bobby sees the crime scenes and feels he may be the murderer.
* People on the street recognize Bobby from the television and think he’s the real murderer.
* In an unusual scene at the end of the film you realize that even you, the viewer, are not seeing what you think you’re seeing.
Not everyone will enjoy this movie because it is quite bizarre and sometimes borders on farce. Although it deals with issues very relevant to Americans, it has a very European feel because it is directed by French director George Sluizer (The Vanishing). I guess it could be described as a very, very black comedy. Stephen Baldwin gives an appropriately wierd performance and Pete Postlethwaite is very convincing, and very chilling, as the killer.