Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Movie Review: To Catch a Spy

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery and characters
Cons: Some threads introduced and went nowhere
The Bottom Line:
A trip to Malta
International myst’ry
Hope to revisit

“Remember When You Said ‘I Owed You One?’”  “Am I Going to Regret That?”

As soon as I started seeing previews for Hallmark’s new mystery movie, To Catch a Spy, I started to get excited.  It looked like something fun and different, and I was really hoping it would deliver.  I’m happy to say that it did.

Chloe Day (Nathalie Kelley) is a travel writer for Destination Traveler Magazine, and she and three of her co-workers have been offered a chance to cover the reopening of Hotel Optima in Malta.  Chloe’s friend Elias (Sean Buhagiar) has been renovating it for his family.  She’s looking forward to a few days learning about the hotel and other areas of interest for articles for the magazine.

Her first night there, Chloe is having a hard time sleeping, especially since she is hearing a fight in another room via the air duct.  Then, she sees someone falling past her hotel room window.  She immediately goes to get help, enlisting a fellow guest she met earlier.  That guest turns out to be FBI agent Aaron Maxwell (Colin Donnell).  When Chloe finally gets someone to let her into the area where the body fell, there’s no body.  With no one but Aaron taking her seriously, Chloe tries to figure out what is going on.  Can she solve the mystery?

This mystery was everything the ads I’d seen promised it would be.  It isn’t long before we figure out who the victim must be, but that only drives Chloe even harder to make sure justice is done.  With the FBI involved, this case takes on high stakes, which made it even more compelling.  And everything is wrapped up satisfactorily at the end as we get a suspenseful climax.

Since this is the first movie with any of these characters, it does need to set up everyone and their relationships.  I felt it did a good job of that without slowing things down.  I really liked Chloe, Aaron, and their co-workers, although the two of them were the main focus of the movie.

I was expecting a romance between our two leads, but it was hardly hinted at, even by Hallmark mystery movie standards.  If there are additional movies in the franchise, this will be a very slow burn romance.

I haven’t heard anything yet about this being a potential franchise, but I hope it is.  I could see problems getting Chloe and Aaron in the same locations regularly, but I think there is potential for some great stories with these characters.  There were some potential threads introduced in this movie that were just dropped, so I’m hoping those are things that will be explored in future movies as well.

This movie had a bit more of the Hallmark cheese than some of the new ones we’ve seen recently.  I’m sure the actors were still feeling out their characters, although some of the issues were from the writing as well.  It’s a minor issue for me or I wouldn’t keep watching Hallmark movies.

If you missed To Catch a Spy, be sure you catch it when it airs again.  Even if this doesn’t become a new franchise, it is a fun addition to Hallmark’s mystery movies.  But I really do hope we get to visit these characters again soon.

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