'To Catch a Spy' Review: This Hallmark whodunnit shines against Maltese setting
'The 90-minute whodunit, despite being predictable, keeps you guessing
'To Catch a Spy' is a paced thriller. Also, it's from Hallmark, which means the film drops generous doses of cheesiness as a group of travelers and one FBI agent set out on a mission to nab a killer. The 90-minute whodunit, despite being predictable, keeps you guessing. Writer Chloe (Nathalie Kelley) is visiting Malta to cover the grand opening of a hotel when she meets FBI Agent Aaron (Colin Donnell). What seemed like the start of a friendship quickly transformed into a working relationship.
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries have released a handful of titles in 2021. 'Chronicle Mysteries: Helped to Death', 'Morning Show Mysteries Murder Ever After', 'Poisoned in Paradise A Martha's Vineyard Mystery', 'MatchMaker Mysteries The Art of the Kill' and 'Aurora Teagarden Mysteries How To Con A Con' are some of them.
What was supposed to be a work-leisure trip for Chloe changed the instant she saw a man fall to his death right past her hotel room window. Frantic and puzzled, she runs to the hotel lobby and seeks as much help as she can to find out who it was or what had happened. But it was too late by the time she got to the service area, where she saw the body previously. The case is outside of Aaron's jurisdiction but he promises to help Chloe uncover the mystery by pulling some strings at the embassy.
The first 30 minutes sets context about the case. What makes ‘To Catch a Spy’ worthwhile watch is despite being predictable it keeps the intrigue levels high. Will they be able to catch the killer? Again, this may be expected of a thriller film but it's surprising coming from Hallmark, given how the network has thrived on love, romance, and everything nice.
Kelley’s Chloe excels as the flummoxed writer who will stop at nothing until the killer is caught, while Donnell is reserved, committed and funny at the same time. The supporting cast, led by Patti Murin's Sara does their bit and adds to comic relief here and there but never taking away from the seriousness of the plot.
What adds depth to the narrative is the Malta setting - dissecting crime against the backdrop of the country's scenic locales. What could be more interesting? It just gives you another reason to watch the film. Coming back to the story: Chloe's relentless is admirable but puts her at risk. Using clues and shreds of evidence gathered over time, she is finally able to put the pieces of the puzzle together. But will she live to unmask the killer?
‘To Catch a Spy’ slips from pleasant to complicated with enough and more compelling moments. And up until the final few minutes, the plot keeps you guessing whether Chloe and Aaron are able to get to the bottom of the case.
'To Catch a Spy' premiered on June 20, Sunday, at 8/7c.