Video Review

Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture (1991)

MPAA Rating: R
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Movie Rated: R; Genre: Mystery and Thriller; With: Bonnie Bedelia and Roy Scheider; Distributor: MCA/Universal Home Video

A mystery with more than whodunit on its mind, Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture, a made-for-cable movie has the kind of substance — and understated style — that not even big screen movies bother with much anymore. It helped to have veteran screenwriter Frank Pierson (Presumed Innocent) directing. Still, the movie's main asset is its case: Roy Scheider plays a burnt-out photographer who is sent to cover a convicted cop-killer's execution — and who ends up racing against time to prove the man was framed. Bonnie Bedelia, as the murdered cop's widow, and Robert Carradine, as his partner, lend their usual class. But it is Arliss Howard who provides the soul, as a condemned man trying to come to grips with his imminent mortality. Shoot the Picture is being hyped on video-store posters as a thriller, but with its haunting images of life on death row and its quiet compassion for all the characters, it is far more satisfying as a serious drama. B+

Originally posted May 10, 1991 Published in issue #65 May 10, 1991 Order article reprints