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Featured TV on DVD Review: Jesse Stone: No Remorse

July 24th, 2010

Jesse Stone: No Remorse - Buy from Amazon

Jesse Stone: No Remorse is the latest TV movie based on the novels by Robert B. Parker. (Although by the fifth one in the series, Thin Ice, the films were no longer based on any novel and were more continuations with the same cast of characters.) They are also practically a TV series, as the movies have many continuing plots from previous installments, which is a little hard to come to terms with if you are a neophyte to the franchise.

For instance, at the start of the film Jesse Stone has been suspended from the police force for reasons that are mostly just hinted at. (If you haven't seen Thin Ice, then jumping in at this point is a little disorienting.) Not only has he been suspended, he's been ordered to break communication with all of his subordinates as well, which has left him isolated, which in turn has led him to drink. The isolation is broken by two tragic deaths. First, a man is shot from behind in a parking garage in Boston, and then, more locally, a clerk at a convenience store is beaten to death, the second recent violent robbery in town.

The first victim in the parking garage turns out to have ties with a local mob boss / boxing promoter, Gino Fish, so at first the police suspect that it is mob related. However, when another person is killed, a mother of three, they think it could be a serial killer. When a third person is killed, this suspicion is all but confirmed.

The local robbery / murder is part of the ongoing plot. When Jesse Stone was suspended, his deputy, Luther "Suitcase" Simpson, replaced him as acting police chief. "Suitcase" does not want Jesse helping with the investigation for a couple of reasons. First, that would be breaking orders, and he doesn't want to lose his new promotion. Second, if Jesse comes in an solves the case, it is very likely the town council will reinstate Jesse when his suspension is over.

My biggest complaint about this movie is that it is not very accessible for people who haven't seen the previous films. It runs about 90 minutes, and of that nearly an hour deals with the repercussions of past events. On the other hand, that's really my only major complaint. (I do have a minor complaint about the solution to the killings, as it was a little too close to the series premiere of Castle. If you have one killing, you look for motive. If you have two, you look for a connection. If you have three, you look for a psychopath. In both cases, the true killer was using this as a cover.) Even if you are missing out on the background information from the previous installments, this movie is able to draw you in. The emotional connections between the characters are so strong that one can't help but be drawn in. It might have a more deliberate pace than some would expect, but the intelligence displayed more than makes up for the lack of car chases and gun fights. (In fact, the inclusion of either of those would seem grossly out of place.)

The writing is excellent, as is the acting. It is clear that all people involved really understand these characters, which helps immensely.

The Extras

Sadly, there are no extras on the DVD.

The Verdict

After watching Jesse Stone: No Remorse I did a little research on the franchise. It appears that it is a widely held belief that No Remorse is the best film in the franchise. It certainly deserves this praise. If you are a fan of the books / movies, the DVD is worth picking up. If you haven't encountered either, start with the first film.

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