Lifetime Film Review: Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer (dir by Norman Stone)

The latest Lifetime “true crime” movie goes a little something like this:

We start with a clip from a South African news program.  The anchorman talks about how much everyone loves Oscar Pistorius, the man who lost his legs when he was 11 months old and then went to compete in both the Paralympics and the Olympics.  In both his home country and abroad, Oscar is known as the Blade Runner.

Cut to:

Oscar Pistorius (played by Andreas Damm) running across South Africa.  A man in a pickup truck honks at him.  Oscar holds up his hand in greeting.  A group of children stop playing soccer long enough to watch Oscar run by.  No matter what, Oscar never stops running.

Cut to:

Oscar in his kitchen, on the day before Thanksgiving.  A title card tell us that we are seeing “the day before Reeva’s death.”  Reeva Steenkamp (Toni Garrn) is Oscar’s girlfriend and a model.  They talk, they laugh, they make love on a kitchen counter.  It seems like the perfect relationship.

Cut to:

Night.  The outside of Oscar’s house.  There are gunshots.  Reeva screams for help.  Oscar shouts “No!”

Cut to:

The morning after Reeva’s death and Oscar telling the police how he accidentally killed his girlfriend.

Cut to:

A few months before Reeva’s death.  Reeva tells her mother that she wants to move in with Oscar.

Cut to:

A few more months before Reeva’s death.  Reeva meets Oscar Pistorius and, for Oscar, it’s obsession at first sight.

And so the movie goes from there, hopping back and forth through time and telling the story of Oscar and Reeva’s ill-fated relationship.  Oscar turns out to be jealous and controlling.  Reeva is always a bit too quick to accept the blame for all of Oscar’s tantrums.  Oscar confesses to her that he’s always felt like he’s been alone in the world.  Reeva’s friends tell her that they think Oscar is creepy.  Reeva says that they don’t know him the way that she does.  Reeva mentions that she smoked weed while doing a shoot in Jamaica.  Oscar totally freaks out, as if he simply cannot believe that someone would smoke weed while in Jamaica.  (I mean, wouldn’t it be rude not to?)

And eventually, it all leads to Oscar shooting Reeva and the trial that captivated the world.  Did Oscar intentionally shoot her while in a jealous rage or, as he claimed, did he accidentally shoot her?  The film refuses to give us a definitive answer, leaving it up to the viewer to decide.  That seems to be a bit of a cop-out but then again, that’s the way it usually is with these true crime films.  They never definitely validate one side or the other.  It’s just like how last week’s Robert Durst movie couldn’t come right out and show Durst killing his wife even though everyone knows that’s probably what happened.  Ambiguity can be good but sometimes, you just want the movie to have the courage to offer up an answer.

Anyway, as for the rest of Blade Runner Killer, it was a bit too slow and disjointed to really work.  As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but feel that, unlike the Durst case, there really wasn’t enough to the Pistorius case to justify an entire, 90-minute movie.  Though the script never really dug far beneath the surface, both Andreas Damm and Toni Garrn did a good job as Oscar and Reeva.  Otherwise, this one was pretty forgettable.

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