The peak of original filmmaking...if you're willing to overlook every murder-mystery produced over the past twenty years.Stop me when this sounds familiar: A brand-new widow is accused of murdering her newly dead husband for his massive insurance policy. While trying to defend her guilty ass in court, the sexy suspect sparks a tepid romance with the prosecuting attorney. Throw in five superfluous characters, six dead-end subplots and seven aimless red herrings; toss a few mildly familiar actors on top to grace the video cover and sell the tired old chestnut to a cable network or a hopeful distribution company.
Nope, Cause of Death isn’t about to be crowned “Miss Originality”, though the end product is mildly entertaining anyway. There’s only so many times one can withstand the same overbaked plotlines and this flick certainly isn’t shy about trotting out the same old courtroom theatrics. Written and directed by filmmakers firmly entrenched on the ‘cable TV’ rung of cinema, Cause of Death avoids being an outright sleeping pill thanks to a few winning performances.
Patrick Bergen (Sleeping with the Enemy) continues his string of movies nobody really likes with a performance reminiscent of Tom Berenger completely drunk. Cable flick staple Joan Severance (See No Evil, Hear No Evil) is all steely-eyed beauty as the accused murderer and the ever-cool Michael Ironside (Starship Troopers) offers a solid turn as a gruff D.A. Canadian doll Maxim Roy (Federal Protection) delivers probably the best performance in the film, as an untrusting junior prosecutor. (Plus she’s CUTE!)
Cause of Death, though populated with several serviceable performances, is nothing more than a feature-length episode of Law and Order…only not nearly as intelligent or well written as an episode of Law and Order.Those looking for a comfortably familiar spin on the old ‘double indemnity’ device may enjoy Cause of Death one late night on HBO, though it’s hardly worthy of a special trip to the DVD store.