“You want to know everything? Well, believe me, you don’t.”
A bank teller (Debra Winger) investigates the murder of her lover (Mark Keyloun), a tennis coach turned petty drug dealer.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Amateur Sleuths
- Debra Winger Films
- Drug Dealers
- James Bridges Films
- Murder Mystery
Writer/director James Bridges originally intended for Mike’s Murder to unfold in reverse chronological order (much like Christopher Nolan’s Memento would do to such critical acclaim 16 years later) but its nervous producers decided to recut it in a more conventional direction. Fortunately, the film “as is” remains an enjoyably edgy psychological thriller, one which effectively portrays the excitement — and potential danger — a mysterious new lover can bring to one’s life. Winger is excellent in an against-type role, making us believe that the somewhat introverted Betty would take the risks she does; we remain deeply engaged in her quest for answers to Mike’s murder, and fear for her safety. Mark Keyloun as her enigmatic lover is ultimately given too little screen time to make much of an impression (he’s killed off fairly quickly in the film, as indicated by its “spoiler” title), but the rest of the supporting cast is uniformly excellent — particularly Darrell Larson as Mike’s neurotic friend Pete, and caftan-wearing Paul Winfield as a gay music producer with (like many in the film) an enormous crush on Mike. Mike’s Murder qualifies as a genuine Sleeper — though it’s oddly not listed as such in Peary’s book.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Debra Winger as Betty
- Darrell Larson as Pete
- Paul Winfield as Phillip
- Good use of authentic L.A. locales (such as the Venice canals, pictured below)
No, but it’s recommended.