Starkweather : The Film - The Story
The year is 1957, and I am sorry to say that a nineteen year old garbage worker living in Nebraska, called Charles Starkweather (Bret Tayor), is a very disturbed young individual indeed.
Since he was a child, Charlie has been haunted by a shadowy figure that only he could see. Taunting him from time to time, to kill small woodland creatures and such. But now, today, with his fourteen year old girlfriend by his side, Caril-Ann Fugate (Shannon Lucio), he starts to kill again.
No - not small woodland creatures - real people - like a gas station attendant, plus Caril-Ann’s folks too.
Very stark turn of event's, I am sure that you'll agree. Though I suppose that depends on how you look at things really, correct?
To Sheriff Karnoop (Jerry Knoll) - it is - which is why he picks up their trail just after the gas station attentions death, and searches for these murderers one killing at a time. Whereas to Charles and Caril-Ann - it isn't - which is why they just continue to kill whomever crosses their path.
Charlie kills the town Mayor and uses his lodgings so he and Caril-Ann can lay low for a while. Charlie then kills a young couple in a car so he can use their mode of transportation to get away. Plus on top of that, Charlie also kills a stately couple in their own home, and uses their car to drive to Hollywood.
But wait a God damn minute! What about Sheriff Karnoop and that shadowy figure who haunts Charlie? What are they both doing about all this?
Alas, the shadowy figure temps Charlie, goads Charlie, and blasts Charlie down the murderous path that he has chosen for himself and his childish girl-pal, Caril-Ann. As Sheriff Karnoop on the other hand? Well, that is why what next transpires all kicks off when Charlie has some car troubles whilst on the road. As victims fight back - the police have a crack- a murder gets the chair - and an accomplice does not care.
[ Not The Trailer - Starkweathers Last Interview ]
Now in all honesty I would really like to say nice things about this film, 'Starkweather'. I really would. As it is based on a true story about a couple of American nut-jobs who killed their way though Nebraska during the fifties. But I am afraid to say that I can’t really find any positive praise for this picture at all.
For a start, you can see better production values on a soap opera than you can see on this film. Secondly, where the story is concerned, even though true, the tale in itself is presented in a rather benign and shoddy way, with no excitability in any of the characters. Thirdly, the acting (for use of a better word) is sometimes too staged, seemingly comical at times with the overt performances on display. And finally, the overall package doesn't have that extra added 'oomph' which this type of material normally brings along with it.
Listen now, I don’t really want to disrespect anyone who has worked on this film. I just feel that what’s been put onto the screen is lacking a certain edge and dynamic sheen. It does not have anything to do with the lack of a ‘big stars’ in this film, as in someway the not so well known actors do lend a certain ambiguity within their roles. Removing prior associations. But then again, whilst saying all that, at the same time they do lack the charisma needed within their parts.
Oh! I don't know. Maybe this is due to a bad script? Maybe this is due to poor direction? Or just maybe this is due to a lackluster approach to the whole project? Which to me seems to be the case. I wonder why this happened though? Let’s face it, the original material for 'Charles Starkweather' must be in abundance due to the popularity of his grizzly actions? So I don’t understand why this film has turned out the way it has? Also, how bad where the cars in the fifties for them to always break down all the time?!
Most probably it’s got something to do with that stupid bloody shadowy figure that only Charles Starkweather could see. The git. I wonder where he bought his trench coat from? These real life facts might know, huh? (1) Charles Raymond Starkweather was born November 24, 1938, and died June 25, 1959. He was executed seventeen months after his capture. (2) Caril Ann Fugate was born July 30, 1943, and was youngest female in America to have been tried for first-degree murder. She served seventeen years in prison. (4) Sissy Spacek and Michael Sheen starred in the film 'Badlands' that was based on this story. Moreover, Fairuza Balk and Tim Roth starred in the television mini-series 'Murder in the Heartland', which was also based on this story. (5) Caril began dating Charles at high school. She was in her senior year, he worked in a warehouse. (6) Charles and Caril Ann's rampage lasted for two months, and involved eleven people living in Nebraska and Wyoming to be murdered. (7) Caril was a model prisoner inside, and was paroled in 1976. She now lives in Lansing, Michigan. (8) As soon as they were both arrested, Charles admitted full responsibility to the murders. However, before his death, he stated that Caril did have some involvement as well. But this could not be substantiated. (9) Eleven people were murdered, including elderly people and a two year old girl. Shot, stabbed, and strangled. And (10) Bruce Springsteen wrote the song 'Nebraska' about this killing spree. Check it out...
THE RATING: C