Tales From the Murder Room
Feb 17, 2022
King Jeff & Gorio
King Jeff, Gorio, Brian Lanigan
Conceptualised and created by filmmakers King Jeff and Gorio, Tales from the Murder Room is a detective drama situating homicide detectives who must resolve a high-stakes murder investigation. Like its original episodic series, the crime-fuelled film follows the detectives as they interview and question suspects and victims who spark intense suspicion and intrigue.
For a film containing limited action, each scene still manages to capture your attention. A simple setup is proved to be most effective by King Jeff and Gorio as their use of creative production design and camerawork establishes scenes very well. Longer scenes are used to effectively build tension, pairing nicely with quick dialogue to keep the viewer alert. Likewise, surveillance shots and close-ups mark a nice contrast in perspective and maintain the interrogation feel to the film. The main interrogation room set is incredibly detailed and every interrogation acknowledges the presence of the camera, portraying this as a crime-led film that has absolutely nothing to hide.
Copious clever details about each crime are woven into the script, detailing its victims and suspects, which establishes a very clear picture of what is happening. As a result, the viewer is well-guided through the narrative much like they would be in a book – which is a very unique structure to befit a film. Established from the offset is what they need to be looking for, and any clues the detectives may have, which also allows the viewer to feel as though they are also solving a real crime. We are all involved in the chase to uncover the truth.
First, the detectives must establish motive. Why are these killings happening and who could be responsible? This theme is woven into every aspect of the two storylines running alongside each other and a distinction is clearly marked. Whilst occurring at the same time, the two plots are distinguished by one being in black and white and the other being a colour image. The colour images each end the same way by focusing on the book, which then moves the viewer back into a black and white scene, as though we get sucked back into the book. This variation in tone between the different coloured images is clever and clearly defines different chapters of the flim where different suspects are being interrogated by the detectives. There is no reason for the viewer not to be continually hooked.
This intelligent setup makes room for the filmmakers to spend a lot of time with all of their characters in order to build a deep insight into each of them. In turn, this makes for better performances as each actor portrays their character excellently and it feels real when watching. A well-paired contrast is made between the irate and frustrated suspects versus the cool and collected detectives who pride themselves on being very perceptive about the people that they encounter in their interrogation room. With a series of different incidents that they must solve, they are written with depth and, despite the serious tone of the script, elements of wit and humour are successfully included in their character development too.
Tales From the Murder Room remains a fresh take on the detective genre. With sharp scene transitions and a well-written balanced script, it is worth a watch.