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Boston Strangler Review: True Crime Journalism

Boston Strangler Featured Image
Keira Knightley leads the new true crime thriller "Boston Strangler"

If there’s one genre that has taken off these last few years, it’s true crime. Boston Strangler provides us insight into one of the most infamous murder cases in American history and one of the first true serial killers. As a film, it’s almost a combination of Zodiac and Spotlight, which works perfectly to highlight the two incredible journalists behind the story.

Keira Knightly as Loretta McLaughlin in Boston Strangler
Keira Knightly as Loretta McLaughlin in Boston Strangler

The Plot

Boston Strangler features two main characters: Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole, played by Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon respectively. Loretta is the main focus of the film as she is the journalist who uncovers the pattern of murders in Boston. This puts the Boston Record American newspaper not only in the spotlight of the city, but at odds with the police department as they are conducting a subpar investigation. Then, Loretta gets paired up with the more experienced investigative journalist Jean Cole to uncover the true identity of the Boston Strangler.

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The Critique

The biggest critique I can give this film is that the cinematography was very dark (a common theme in films and television today). I did appreciate the 1960’s aesthetic though, as well as the production design and costumes. Matt Ruskin did a nice job with the direction overall as well as writing the script; I liked that the film didn’t drag as well as the fact it was under two hours.

Keira Knightley did a brilliant job playing Loretta. Not only was the acting great, but I felt she did a fantastic job with the Boston/New England accent. Loretta is a determined journalist who not only wants to uncover the truth of the Boston Strangler, but gain the respect from the men running the paper. This is particularly true with her bosses Jack MacLaine and Eddie Holland, played by Chris Cooper and Robert John Burke.

Carrie Coon as Jean Cole in Boston Strangler
Carrie Coon as Jean Cole in Boston Strangler

Carrie Coon, while not the “lead”, gives a terrific performance as Jean. She not only acts as a partner to Loretta in the story, but also a mentor as well. She’s been in the world of investigative journalism longer than Loretta and has helpful connections. Chris Cooper was also a nice addition to the team as Jack; he’s difficult with Loretta in the beginning but turns around as the case progresses. The Boston Strangler himself is played by a fan favorite actor, but I’ll leave that for you to discover when watching the film.

Chris Cooper as Jack MacLaine in Boston Strangler
Chris Cooper as Jack MacLaine in Boston Strangler

In Conclusion

Overall, I would recommend watching Boston Strangler when it arrives on Hulu this Friday. True crime fans will especially enjoy it because of the subject, while general film fans will appreciate it as a ‘60s thriller. It’s nice to see Keira Knightley get a chance to shine in a movie like this while highlighting how important investigative journalism is and how much Loretta and Jean were trailblazers and helped make sure women are treated equally in the workplace.

Rating: 8/10

Like a Dragon: Ishin

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Written by Elliott Wishnefsky

Elliott Wishnefsky is an Entertainment Writer & Critic for FandomWire. He's a graduate of Millersville University with a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. Elliott is also a content creator for his own brand, Learning at the Movies! Twitter: @Learning_Movies | Facebook/Instagram: @learningatthemovies | TikTok: @learningatthemovies