Grace Miller (Alyssa Milano), a crime novelist, argues that her stories, which depict brutal femicide, aren’t trashy, but illuminating. According to her, “they’re about the exploitation of women and the patriarchy,”
The film that surrounds her has a lower level of ambition. “Brazen” is the murder mystery counterpart of a Hallmark Christmas romance, but it’s a little less predictable. Monika Mitchell has directed several holiday-themed made-for-TV movies, including this one based on a Nora Roberts grocery store paperback. A match made in algorithmic heaven, to put it mildly.
Grace (Emilie Ullerup), a city girl, travels to the suburbs to assist her sister Kathleen (also Emilie Ullerup) in a custody battle. This is where the story begins. The plot takes a turn for the worst when the reunion is cut short by a brutal murder.
Grace (Sam Page), distraught and terrified, decides to use her writing skills to find the assassin, with the help of Ed (Sam Page), the hot homicide detective who happens to live next door.
“Brazen” occasionally scratches the same itch as a cop procedural or a Lifetime drama so formulaic you can predict every beat. “If anything ever happened to you, I would lose my mind,” Ed says when Grace volunteers for a risky police gambit.
Brazen: A Mystery Novel
Considering the film’s lack of tension, it’s perhaps not surprising that I knew the killer right away, yet I’ve never written a single mystery novel.
The film is not meant to be taken seriously, because it shows institutions such as schools and the police behaving in the oddest and unbelievable of ways. However, the movie seems to be lost to it and takes every single scene seriously.
The third act is filled with decisions that just look and sound dumb, but the movie keeps presenting these ideas as if they were really clever. By the time the movie ends, you just can’t believe these took time to make and then 90 minutes for you to watch.
At this point, we don’t expect much out of Netflix’s weekly catalog, but this could be right at the bottom of the barrel. It is expected that the quality has been diminished with the increase in quantity, but for that same reason, there are so many other great things to watch on Netflix.