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Parents' Guide to

Intrigo: Samaria

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Violence, swearing in bland mystery trilogy's final entry.

Movie R 2020 104 minutes
Intrigo: Samaria Poster Image

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The third in a trilogy of murder mysteries based on novels by Swedish author Hakan Nesser, this, like the others, is too slow, transparent, confusing, and inconsistent to really provide a jolt. It's interesting how all three movies -- Intrigo: Death of an Author and Intrigo: Dear Agnes are the first two entries -- fail to work in much the same ways. The main problem is that the writing of the mystery is far from seamless or self-contained. In each case, it looks as if the ending was written first (not uncommon for mystery writers), but then the screenwriters had trouble tracing the story back to the beginning. For example, in Intrigo: Samaria, there's no reason in the world why Henry should agree to work on Paula's film, other than the fact that the plot requires him to be there.

Perhaps because the plot is so rigid, the character motivations and behaviors suffer. In so many instances, characters just seem to be drifting, as if unsure which emotion they ought to be having at a particular moment. Moments that should be surprises -- such as when Paula sneakily tries to record a conversation with Henry without his knowledge -- are instead brutally obvious. But perhaps Intrigo: Samaria's worst offense is that, finally, its payoff has so very little to do with the entire setup. Instead, it feels like a "surprise twist" that was tacked on after poor test audience scores. The performers are good, and the characters can be likable in their own ways, but otherwise, the Intrigo series is far from intriguing.

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