IFF Boston: Anne Perry: Interiors

28 April 2010, 6:05 am

The parts of Anne Perry: Interiors that I liked best concerned Perry’s career as a best-selling mystery novelist. They provide some insight into her creative process, and a lot of detail on the operational process of producing books. (A scene with Perry and her transcriber both puzzling over an unclear word was perhaps my favorite.)

But Perry, under another name, was involved in events in 1954 that were dramatized in a 1994 film. Perry and her associates acknowledge these events only reluctantly, and writer/director Dana Linkiewicz pushes them to confront and discuss them. If I faulted Lemmy for being too respectful of its subject, I felt Anne Perry: Interiors went too far the other way; watching some of the interview clips of Perry’s associates and friends, it was hard not to wonder if those friendships and associations might not be damaged when Perry saw the interviews; one of the sessions with Perry herself seemed almost abusive. I was reminded of David Frost going after Tricky Dick as depicted in Frost/Nixon, but whereas Nixon was a figure in public office who was never formally charged with crimes, let alone convicted of them, Perry was convicted, and served out her sentence. Badgering her to get a “money shot” fifty-five years later struck me as mean-spirited.

The film’s title comes, I think, from its use of a formal device: shots in Perry’s home represent the controlled, reserved life Perry has constructed; exterior shots of the surrounding countryside represent the underlying unresolved emotional tension. This worked for me when the exteriors were unruly lonely moors and claustrophobic winding lanes, but there were a few shots (skeletal branches waving across the full moon’s face; waves crashing against the shore) that seemed rather ham-fisted.

2 comments on “IFF Boston: Anne Perry: Interiors”

  1. 2fs

    Proviso: I haven’t seen the film…but in some respects it’s a little disingenuous to note that Perry/Hulme “served out her sentence.” She was imprisoned for five years as a juvenile, and thereafter was free to live her life.

    It’s to her credit that, so far as I know, she hasn’t sought to capitalize on her notoriety…but I’m having a hard time worrying about a filmmaker being “mean-spirited” in the face of someone who intentionally and repeatedly crushed another woman’s skull with a brick.

  2. villain

    I don’t think I was being disingenuous (although I was trying to avoid spoilers…). But she was tried, convicted, sentenced — and if you read the same sources I did, you might agree that the 5-year term was not the harshest of the penalties?

    Dunno. If you do see the film I’d be curious to hear what you think.

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