TV-14 | 03 February 2013 (USA)
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  • Reviews

    The film makes a home in your brain and the only cure is to see it again.

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    It's easily one of the freshest, sharpest and most enjoyable films of this year.

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    Mathilde the Guild

    Although I seem to have had higher expectations than I thought, the movie is super entertaining.

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    It is neither dumb nor smart enough to be fun, and spends way too much time with its boring human characters.

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    First off, let's address the issue of showing the killer at the beginning. Yes, Columbo did this, but so did other classic shows like Hawaii Five-O and Cannon, to name a couple. So what makes Motive different?Simple...the idea of this crime drama is to figure out WHY the killer did what he or she did. It's an interesting play on things...the episode starts out with two different sequences, one ending with the word 'killer' appearing on screen, the other ending with 'victim'. The sequence with the killer usually portrays the person in a positive light, and conversely, the 'victim' sequence may portray that person poorly, creating a sense of sympathy for the killer and maybe a non- sympathetic light for the victim. After the two detectives, Angie Flynn (Kristen Lehman) and Oscar Vega (Louis Ferrara a/k/a Justin Louis) show up and launch the investigation, then we see events unfold as to just how the killer and victim wound up on a fatal trajectory. We gather all sorts of info and see all sorts of obvious motives, but quite often, the real motive for the crime comes out of left field. The motive is quite often something unexpected.This is a Canadian-produced series, and I enjoy the way they tell stories. Between this show, Flashpoint and Rookie Blue, I'm beginning to think that our neighbors to the North are writing better cop shows than we are.

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    Motive is basically about a headstrong female role model who is likable but flawed, with a flair for what is unconventional, either at work as a homicide detective and at home as a mother. Each episode revolves around an always violent crime, tough most of the bloody scenes are quite brief, and the killer is always brought to justice in the end. Language is mild (think "hell," "damn," etc.), and sexual activity is mostly implied. Some cases involve social drinking and drug use, which is not uncommon/unheard of, but they're handled originally. Last thing the TV world needed was another crime drama. Nevertheless Motive at least tries to change things by throwing out the whodunit plots.

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    I just watched "Crimes of Passion". Meh . . .That's all I can muster for this "twisted" cop show where we find out the killer and the victim first thing and have to wait for the motive. There is where the problem is for me. You see, the motive comes in too early so the last 10 minutes of the show are a drag. I mean, the suspense is gone.Based on that episode and the poor reviews the show is getting, I predict that ABC will be looking for something else for this time slot before the summer is over. There was a glaring plot hole in this episode for me. The killer uses the boyfriend's car to murder the girl. The cops find this out early on but the boyfriend seems to be unaware of the death of the girlfriend so not really viable as the killer. However, the cops never pull the security footage from the garage. If they had, we'd have gotten the motive even sooner and would've needed to sit through even more boring "who cares".No thanks. I'll watch reruns of Columbo. Hey! There's an idea! What about a remake of that gem? Now, who to cast as Columbo . . .

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    So the concept of Motive is simple: show the killer and the victim outright, and then leave the audience to figure out the motive. Interesting if done correctly, but for the most part... this isn't.Motive is shot well, but that's largely ruined by the terrible color correction many crime dramas use, leaving everything green, grey, and black.Thankfully the acting is convincing, though the detectives are totally generic, making them far less interesting than the characters you'll only see for one episode. And that's saying something, because as other reviews have stated, the writing is terrible.The show is filled with character actions that don't make any sense (which won't be revealed due to spoilers, but they're the kind that will leave you yelling at the TV wondering why they're doing that). Even worse, Motive contains laughable dialogue like a teenager saying, "Dude, it sounds like someone's making the beast with two backs!" When my high school English class was reading Othello, kids thought that phrase was ridiculous enough in Shakespeare, let alone using it in a normal conversation.But wait, maybe the unique twists presented by the concept are enough to save it! Well to pull this off, a show has to have the big reveal leaving the viewer thinking, "Man, I'm so stupid for not figuring that out!" The exact wrong response is, "What. You leave that major piece of evidence until the very end? How was anyone supposed to get that?" Guess which response Motive will leave you with?An interesting idea, ruined by abysmal writing. Motive did manage to keep my attention, but half of that was to see what line would make me laugh next.

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