Monday, March 2, 2009

With “Jesse Stone: Thin Ice,” Selleck & Harmon Add Another Fine Film to the Excellent “Stone” Series

Last night the film “Jesse Stone: Thin Ice” (link) was aired on CBS-TV. It’s the fifth movie in the ongoing “Jesse Stone” series (link) which is based on novels by Robert B. Parker. The movies tell the story of policeman Jesse Stone’s experiences in solving crime and in rebuilding his life after becoming police chief in a small Massachusetts coastal town.

All five stories feature a heavy dose of crime mystery but contain a backstory of Stone’s troubled nature and difficulty moving on. He’s melancholy, he drinks, and he’s hurt and haunted by his ex-wife who occasionally calls to talk.

The films feature taut plots and fine-tuned character studies. Tom Selleck is outstanding as the world-weary, reluctant warrior with a strong sense of moral duty. All the films are well written, well paced, and well acted. Last night’s story was, like all the others, directed by Robert Harmon and executive produced by Tom Selleck (who also co-wrote a couple of the scripts).

In short, a fine addition to an excellent series. This is the first of the five that I've seen on TV -- I've watched the rest on DVD. I'm generally not aware of what's on prime-time network TV (and I almost missed this one), but this "made-for-TV" movie is a prime example of what such movies could be, should be, but rarely are. It's far better than most films made for theaters. I would recommend those not yet hooked get the four DVDs and start at the beginning.

R. Balsamo