Murder In The Heartland Analysis

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The two-part movie “Murder in the Heartland” from 1993, is the historical take on the bloody months of 1958, where mass-murderer, Charles Starkweather, killed 11 people in Lincoln, Nebraska. Directed by Robert Markowitz, the main roles of Charlie Starkweather, and Caril Ann Fugate, are played by actor Tim Roth and actress Fairuza Balk.
The film shows Charles, called Charlie or Chuck, as an obsessed nineteen year old boyfriend, with his girlfriend being the much younger girl, Caril, who was fourteen at the time. Charlie’s first murder is a stranger working at a gas-station, before moving on to killing Caril’s family without her knowing. With his first four murders in place, the remaining part of the movie depicts his remaining murders, however,
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Caril was living with her mom, her stepdad and two-year-old step sister. Caril also had an older sister, Barb, who lived with her husband. The actual Caril was known to be a respectable girl, who would babysit others children and was good in school. However, Caril and Charlie’s relationship is what the movie mainly puts focus on, and it is through Caril’s reactions that we learn her character. With the historical Caril Ann being a witted girl, she in the movie, portrayed by Fairuza Balk, is very passive. Especially after Charlie’s 5th murder, the killing of a friend, August Meyer. This murder is the first murder Caril, in the movie, openly witnesses. Her reaction is depicted as scared, but the script adds a comical tone. After they dragged the body into the house, Caril is sitting in a chair, shocked. When Charlie tells Caril to take a shower, she states that “I’m not taking a shower with a dead man on the floor!”. This line, along with the blank portrayal of Caril’s being, is not accurate to how the real Caril was as a person. Because according to the published book, “the Twelfth Victim”, about Caril’s innocence, she is described as a clever, witted and strong young girl. This historical depiction of her doesn’t match with the movie. The only scene where we barely see a shadow of a strong Caril is when she attempts to leave Charlie early in the movie, but also here she bows down quickly. Throughout the rest of the film, Caril seems more like a doll controlled by strings. But this, as impressively played by Fairuza Balk, just made the audience feel sympathy for this seemingly innocent girl, even

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