Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Alan Alda
Director: Woody Allen
Running Time: 107 mins
Manhattan Murder Mystery is an American film about a middle-aged married couple who become engrossed in investigating the death of their neighbour’s wife, in which they suspect foul play.
It’s fair to say that many of Woody Allen’s classic films do have a bit of a formula to them, so it’s nice to see when he and his crew take a little bit of a step outside that formula and try something different. For me, Manhattan Murder Mystery isn’t quite as captivating as Allen’s best, but it is a good bit of light-hearted fun, complete with some wonderful performances across the board.
In fact, that’s where we should start, because while the premise is actually rather dark, Woody Allen gives us perhaps the most light-hearted film starring himself and regular co-star Diane Keaton.
Manhattan Murder Mystery isn’t anywhere near as hilarious as Annie Hall, but it is a far simpler affair, and it’s easy to kick back and relax with it, instead of being caught up in the complexities of Allen and Keaton’s relationship or Allen’s classic neurotic soliloquies.
As usual, Allen and Keaton are absolute dynamite together on screen, but their characters’ more fractured relationship, brought about by the fact that Keaton is initially far more convinced of foul play in their neighbour’s death, makes for an interesting dynamic between them that we haven’t seen before.
While the ‘murder mystery’ element of the movie is the central focus on the surface, it also brings into attention a more subtle love triangle, featuring Allen, Keaton and Alan Alda, with whom Keaton grows closer over the course of her investigations, while Allen remains relatively apathetic.
That’s what I found the most interesting part of the film, with the murder mystery side a little more farcical in its sensibilities. It’s still a fun film to watch for a bit of real-life Cluedo, but Manhattan Murder Mystery isn’t there to have you biting your nails and following a mind-bending story.
While it isn’t Allen’s most hilarious movie, Manhattan Murder Mystery is still a good bit of fun, and it delivers a charming and typically offbeat story with style, even if its main focus isn’t actually the most entertaining thing about it. So, that’s why I’m giving the film a 7.2 overall.