August 8, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt'

Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

When I think of Tom Selleck, the Hawaii-based Magnum PI still comes to mind, such was the impact of that show. That being said, Selleck has appeared in many films and TV shows since (am still a big fan of An Innocent Man), the Jesse Stone series of films being one of the more recent. Based on the novels by Robert B. Parker, the Jesse Stone films are now on their 8th installment with Benefit of the Doubt, and this is my introduction to the series.

First screened on CBS back in May, Benefit of the Doubt is a good old fashioned police investigation style thriller. Following a double homicide, Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) is persuaded to return to his position as Chief of Police in the town of Paradise, Massachusetts. The reason being that the police force currently working there is virtually non-existent, so it’s up to Stone to come in and steady the ship, whilst trying to solve this mysterious case.

Being a newcomer to this series I was slightly apprehensive, in case I had no idea what was going on, asides from the obvious on screen action. Now, whilst there is reference to Stone’s past and previous cases and personal history, it never gets in the way of the actual enjoyment of the film. You can enjoy it as part of a series, or as a stand-alone movie. Personally, I want to check out the earlier movies now as I did enjoy Benefit of the Doubt.

The movie itself introduces many characters along the way, with some having more relevance to the plot than others. Such actors as William Sadler, Saul Rubinek and Kathy Baker all pop up, amongst many more, and all combined add a little depth to what could be a very cut and dry style tale.

What made the film work for me was director Robert Harmon (he of The Hitcher) and his decision to let the story unfold at an almost pedestrian pace, which actually benefits the story. It might be a little too slow for some viewers, but for me it worked just fine. Add into this a really enjoyable performance from Selleck, who you can tell is very comfortable in this role, and I found myself watching a really engaging film.

Watching Benefit of the Doubt it is quite obvious to see that it was a made for TV movie, but don’t let that dissuade you from checking it out. Am sure fans of the series will already have seen it, but if not it is well worth your time. Some of the dialogue is great fun to hear, especially the opening scene and a later scene in which Stone questions the driver of a car that was tailing him.

Overall, I found Benefit of the Doubt to be an enjoyable movie that was well worth an hour and a half of my time. Now, to go back and start from the beginning of the series!

Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt is released on DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and is available now.

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