Boston Strangler is an intriguing murder mystery film that showcases the effort good reporters put in, and the sacrifices they make.
Boston Strangler delivers a truly interesting and captivating murder mystery, with powerful enough performances to keep even know who know the story invested. Likely this will work better for those who don’t know all the gritty and dark details, but it is entertaining no matter which side of the fence you fall on.
While this true-crime thriller certainly tells the story of the killer dubbed the Boston Strangler, it spends the majority of its time showcasing the two female journalists who helped to cover the investigation. Set in the 1960s, Jean Cole (played by Carrie Coon) and Loretta McLaughlin (played by Keira Knightley) put their lives at risk by covering these horrific murders.
Loretta is actually the one who broke the story that this was a serial killer and not several killers, by doing research and not taking no for an answer from the police.
In just under two hours, viewers are treated to some top notch journalism, a slew of suspects, and a story that they won’t soon forget.
Boston Strangler is certainly a thriller, as it delivers many edge of your seat moments. As you can imagine, working to uncover the truth about a killer is not going to have them happy that you are doing so. Even being based on a true story, we don’t want to get into spoiler territory, but just know Jean and Loretta sacrifice a lot to work as hard as they do to bring the Boston Strangler to justice.
Thankfully this means a film that will keep viewers engaged, for the most part. Boston Strangler does feel a bit too long as it struggles in the middle to keep viewers invested. But on the other hand, it is important to showcase several different aspects of the investigation — especially considering how it all ends up.
Do You Need To Know The Boston Strangler Story?
No, you absolutely do not need to know the full story of the Boston Strangler, or any of the story for that matter. In fact, this film might even work better if you don’t. Having grown up in the Boston area, albeit a few decades later than these murders, I had heard of this killer. However, I did not know the ins and outs of the murders, the investigation, or even the culprit.
Because of that, Boston Strangler, was enticing from the start. I was immediately sucked into the story and eager to soak it all in. I love a good murder mystery and that is what this film gave me. It spends a lot of time with the investigative journalists (think She Said), while delivering just enough crime scenes to keep me entertained.
Probably the worst part of Boston Strangler for me was the Boston accents, as they weren’t always perfect and as someone who comes from there, I noticed.
Having watched this film with someone who knows the story, and seeing just how invested and interested they are, proves that even if you do know the outcome, Boston Strangler offers a good story.
Boston Strangler is a great thriller film that will keep audiences on their toes if they don’t know the true story. Those that do know will be interested to see how the different aspects of the case are brought to the screed. Carrie Coon and Keira Knightley are great together, with Keira being the clear standout.
Try not to compare to the recent release, She Said, although there are many similarities, because that one simply does it better. Still, it is nice to explore things from the journalists side, and see everything they give up for a story.
Boston Strangler does a lot of things right, with the only real misstep being that it goes on a tad too long. Still more than worth a watch, so check it out when it hits Hulu on March 17th.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
About Boston Strangler
From 20th Century Studios and award-winning writer-director Matt Ruskin (“Crown Heights”) comes “Boston Strangler,” a true-crime thriller about the trailblazing reporters who broke the story of the notorious Boston Strangler murders of the 1960s.
The film follows Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley), a reporter for the Record-American newspaper, who becomes the first journalist to connect the Boston Strangler murders. As the mysterious killer claims more and more victims, Loretta attempts to continue her investigation alongside colleague and confidante Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), yet the duo finds themselves stymied by the rampant sexism of the era. Nevertheless, McLaughlin and Cole bravely pursue the story at great personal risk, putting their own lives on the line in their quest to uncover the truth.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.