'Murder In: The Land of the Cathars' - Movie Review

Original title: "Meurtres en Pays Cathare."

In 2009 on one of my visits to France, I went to Peyrepertuse and Queribus, the ruins of Cathar fortresses. Peyrepertuse is probably the largest and best known of five well established Cathar tourist sites in the south of France. The place was never taken in battle: it's perched on a massive rock spike and the only way to pry the Cathars out was by starvation. Queribus is similarly situated. That made me want to watch this movie set in the lovely "Land of the Cathars."

The movie opens on an attractive woman walking to the ruins of a Cathar fortress (neither of the ones I saw - there are several more). After some other introductory matter (the police captain and her floundering marriage), we find the first woman dead in the display room at the fortress - and the police captain is horrified to find her Downs Syndrome brother sitting in a corner with blood on him. Another cop comes in to handle the case, and as luck would have it, he's our police captain's ex-.

The movie is loaded with co-incidences, misfortunes, and red herrings. The first two aren't applied in excess, but there were a lot of red herrings. All combined, they became annoying. They also used a writing practise I find unfortunate: the characters make their first appearance blaring out their insecurities and problems, and then mellow over the course of the show to make them more appealing. Except for the victim: we had to wait to learn about her issues.

Finally, the movie also fell down in the travel porn division: the opening shot of the victim walking up to the Cathar fortress was lovely, and there were one or two short shots of a nice downtown area on a canal (not sure they even named the town), and ... that was it. Come on: the Cathar castles are impressive as hell. We got a history lesson about the Cathars when we wanted an eye-full. All around disappointing.