“Brazen:” You should have shame


Photo via Netflix

 Think about all of the things that you don’t notice, even when you’re right next door. We can be so consumed in our own worlds that we don’t even notice what’s happening outside of them. For instance, your sister being murdered right next door. Don’t think about the logic of it all, or how on earth you didn’t hear the screams or the ruckus. But instead, think about the sorrow and crocodile tears that will be let out once you find the aftermath. Then add in the coincidence of a famous detective living right next door, and boom, you’re now the main character of “Brazen.”

Released on Netflix on Jan. 13, “Brazen” is about mystery writer Grace Miller (Alyssa Milano) who finds her sister, Kathleen Miller Breezewood (Emilie Ulerup), murdered in her own home. Grace just wants to figure out what happened to her sister. Luckily, due to her investigative skills as a mystery writer, she has all the knowledge needed to solve a real-life murder, and she’s able to team up with the police department to solve the murder. Plus, she also works with famous detective Ed Jennings (Sam Page), who just so happens to live next door. This movie is based off of the novel “Brazen Virtue” by Nora Roberts, and is currently on Netflix’s top 10 list.

I am not a huge fan of this movie. I was really hoping it would be more engaging and exciting than I expected. Unsurprisingly, it was not. However, I’m not going to lie, I went into the movie a little biased — in my experience, movies that involve writers and mystery in the same plot normally end up painfully bad. However, I don’t feel bad for judging a book by its cover, because this movie was horrendous and it made me question my life choices.

  For one, the acting made me feel so uncomfortable while watching. The acting was so noticeably bad that my sister, who wasn’t even watching the movie, said it was awkward. The actors sounded like they were reading directly off the script in some scenes. The entire point of a movie is to get the audience to feel something from the story, but a bunch of crocodile tears, messed up makeup and useless screams aren’t going to do that.

The only characters who actually embodied the emotions or characteristics they were supposed to were the two students, Jerald Baxter (Matthew Finlan) and Rand Morgan (Daniel Diemer), and the ex-husband, Jonathan Breezewood (David Lewis). These characters were honestly the best to watch, and they conveyed the effect they were supposed to.

Another key problem is the plot, or the lack of. This movie is unrealistic. Now, I can see some of the events happening in real life, but if we are looking at the entirety of the movie, then absolutely not. I understand that the movie is fictional. However, if we’re talking about a topic like serial killers, there should be some realism. 

Also, there are so many plot holes and scenes that have nothing to do with the actual story. It’s OK to stray from the original plot a little, as long as it adds something worthwhile. Seeing a random dinner that adds nothing to the story, besides maybe showing the tension between the characters, isn’t doing anything for the movie. The producers could have shown this by including a negative moment between Kathleen and the killer. 

 Another issue would be the romantic scenes from the movie. They have nothing to do with the actual murders, and the writers treated it like a completely different plot. It was like they copied and pasted a script from another movie and randomly placed it into their script. I would get it if they strategically incorporated the romantic scenes and used them to feed more drama into the original plot. However, they did not, which made these scenes a complete waste of time. 

There are many things that could have been done to improve the movie. The film could have gathered and used evidence, introduced more characters and utilized characters differently. 

  The writers of the movie missed a lot of opportunities as well when it came to incriminating the characters. Instead of having the main character and the police hyper-focus on one suspect, they should have made all of the characters somewhat suspicious with their own unique red flag. That way, the audience can come to their own solutions for the murder and then see who the actual killer was in the end. It’s clear that the writers tried to do this, but they make it so painfully obvious that there is no way that the viewer can be surprised in the end. 

 Building off of the issue with the plot, a major issue is the inability to pinpoint the motive of the killer. You can tell the writers were trying to make the motive realistic, but that doesn’t exactly change anything if the audience can’t figure out why things are happening in the first place. At first, you think the kills are based on impurity, then obsession, but then all of the sudden back to impurity? The puzzle pieces just don’t fit together, and I’m not sure if this puzzle is worth anything at all.

 Most of the issues could have been fixed if the writers made the plot more detailed. Though the movie is only an hour and a half long, they could have done way more during that time frame. Or, if necessary, they could have extended the length of the movie. Adding more intense scenes that made the mystery more like an actual investigation or having more characters that both added to the plot and were enjoyable filers would suffice.

Besides the questionable acting and abominable plot buildup, the movie is bearable to watch. It’s just sad to see so much wasted potential, and it feels like the writers were inattentive when writing the script. The movie was a complete waste of time and disappointing. I can whole-heartedly say that by the end of this movie, I was sitting in disbelief at the fact that I had just wasted an hour and a half of my life.