As Arias awaits sentence, Lifetime takes a run at her story
In 2008, motivational speaker Travis Alexander was found in his shower stall by friends, brutally murdered. His throat was slashed, his body riddled with 27 stab wounds and a gunshot wound to the face. It was later discovered that his former lover, aspiring photographer Jodi Arias, murdered Alexander after a sexcapade chronicled in photographs taken by the couple of each other.
Arias, currently convicted of first degree murder and awaiting a decision on her fate, has definitely become infamous…the movie allows her to join the ranks of Betty Broderick and Casey Anthony, frozen in time by TV movies made about their cases.
Starring Lost star Tania Raymonde as the femme fatale and Jesse Lee Soffer as her victim, the movie took a bit of creative freedom with what we know of the story, telling the tale not as the survivor/murderer tells it, but hinting at a version many agree with today: Travis Alexander was an innocent victim of fatal attraction. Almost immediately, the film portrays Arias as the instigator; the couple meets in a men’s room while Alexander attempts to relieve himself.
Is the movie good for someone unfamiliar with the case? Yes and no. It does show a dangerous relationship between two people that ended in one of them dead and the other trying to avoid the death penalty. But it’s not a trial transcript. Arias and Alexander’s introduction, for instance, did not occur in a bathroom but in a restaurant lobby. Also, although in her testimony Arias told of a near-rape after she was baptized a Mormon, in the movie she seemed to initiate the carnal activity after the ceremony.
There is more reality than fiction, however, like Arias calling herself Alexander’s girlfriend before he had the chance to, and the fact that his friends were nervous about his relationship with her, especially near the end. The concluding court montage was incredibly real and contributed to a very good narrative. Kudos to Tony Plana as Prosecutor Martinez; I watched the prosecutor throughout the testimony, and Plana got his now-famous movements perfect.
But as a movie per se, it drags. Even the moments that could have been high-energy, the legendary fights and jealous behavior from Arias, seemed deflated. My husband, who only knew what his reporter wife told him about the murder, agreed.
Overall, it felt more like an attempt at the movie Fatal Attraction than a depiction of a highly scrutinized case. That last montage was gripping, but also too short and frankly a bit late. Better to go with a side-by-side comparison of Arias’s stories versus those of the other players, interpreting and discussing the disagreements as to what actually happened behind Travis’s bedroom door and in his shower.
Lifetime, despite a few liberal interpretations, hit the nail on the head with what I believe were Travis Alexander’s tragic last days. But I also believe that if the jail carries the network, Lifetime will be getting some very upset tweets from Miss Arias.
Heather Piedmont, known for her no-nonsense responses to political issues, is now turning her attention to the courts. A former White House Intern and New Policy director, currently Piedmont is an adjunct professor for Liberty University and head columnist at BachmanontheBench.com, as well as legal commentator for NewsBlaze.com.