A number of years ago, I spent several days in the hospital waiting to have my gall bladder taken out. And for a lot of reasons, including the fact that my roommate only spoke Spanish and there was only one TV with very limited reception in the room, I ended up seeing several episodes of a Spanish-language soap called Cuentas de la Vida Real, or Real-Life Stories. The catch with this show is that it always ended up with a man yelling at a young woman reduced to sobs of regret. And when I later pointed this out to a bi-lingual friend of mine, she replied, “Yeah. That’s about it.”
Enter the Lifetime movie – usually about some inhuman man doing something horrible to one or more of the women in his life based on a true incident. And that’s about it as far as Saturday’s Fatal Honeymoon, airing on Lifetime at 8 p.m., is concerned. This one is about “Honeymoon Killer” Gabriel Watson (Billy Miller), who reportedly murdered his bride of 11 days, Tina Watson (Amber Clayton) while on a scuba diving trip on their honeymoon to Australia.
Given that my focus in on television for families (you can read my blog at YourFamilyViewer.com), I usually ignore these kinds of movies because the woman is always the victim. And it seems a little anti-male, too, because the guys are always these likable gorgeous men who turn out to be two-faced predators. But I figure, this one stars Harvey Keitel as the grieving father, Tommy Thomas, out to get justice for his daughter. Pickin’s are slim this weekend, what the heck. And I have to give Keitel a lot of credit. He really is one of those actors who is all about working, never mind on what. He comes in, hits his mark, nails the performance and it’s Miller Time. And he does that here with a script that, at least, isn’t horrible.
Told in flashback, with lots of eerie forboding music, the flick starts with Gabe being questioned by the Australian police about his wife’s drowning. There’s a lot of – you should pardon the expression – fishy stuff going on, but nothing that definitively proves murder. So we see scenes of Gabe’s and Tina’s relationship – apparently Gabe had a lot of the earmarks of an abusive personality. We see his antipathy toward Tommy. And we see Tommy grieving, then deciding to go to Australia, himself, to see what can be done about the case. It’s all rather predictable, even if you don’t know (or remember) much about the case. But again, Keitel is fun to watch, and overall, there are more boring things to watch these days.
Anne Louise Bannon also reviews programming for families at YourFamilyViewer.com.