Harvey Keitel is in a Lifetime movie. Harvey Keitel.
Thankfully, it's not a bad one. "Fatal Honeymoon" (8 tonight, Lifetime), one of those ripped-from-the-headlines movies Lifetime does regularly, which are my least favorite type of Lifetime movie.
But Harvey Keitel has a way of elevating the things he's in, adding layers and realism to this film, one some viewers already may know the conclusion. And he plays against Billy Miller, who plays Billy on "The Young and the Restless"!
The film is based on the true story of a couple Gabe Watson (Miller) and Tina Watson (Amber Clayton) who go on their honeymoon to scuba dive near Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Tina never makes it back home; she drowns during a dive, she was reluctant to make. Not everyone thinks it was an accident.
Told in flashbacks, we see Gabe and Tina's tumultuous relationship; Gabe is alternatively charming, swarmy, inattentive, manipulative and selfish. Tina, who is close to her dad, is needy and sweet. Keitel, as Tina's dad Tommy, can see that his daughter is making a big mistake, but he can't stop her. He can't stand Gabe and Gabe can't stand Tommy or Tina's devotion to her dad.
I thought the movie felt a little long at points, but Keitel is spot-on in showing the frustration of a father who has to stand by and watch his daughter choose the wrong man, who must grieve her loss and then who must fight to ensure she's not forgotten. He's relentless in his pursuit of justice; his disdain isn't white hot, but it's enduring.
Miller brings frat boy charm to the part; if you've seen him on the soaps, it will be familiar. He has the ability to move from sincere to slimy with ease.
Although the filmmakers clearly think Gabe is guilty, the film tries to have it both ways. Most of the film goes all out against him, then there's a shift, as though we shouldn't be too sure. There's even some moments where we're supposed to believe Gabe is haunted by the incident. Like when he's on top of his new fiancee.
But what does it matter? This story already has an ending and it's a Google search away. What "Fatal Honeymoon" does is add some of the emotions we may not have seen on CNN reports (Anderson Cooper could get a supporting credit in this film), and it lets us be the jury. In that way, and because of two good performances, the movie's pretty satisfying.