Who is Clark Rockefeller? at the IMDb
Good old true life TV movies - they’ve always got questions in the titles and those interrogative pronouns are solid gold for all we ‘W’ movie bloggers.
The film tells the tale of the longest scam in FBI history - a kind of ‘Catch me if you can’t’. We open as a distraught mother tries to get right her televised plea for her daughter. It’s not clear what is happening but we’re sure we’ll get back to that later. We cut to the seemingly wealthy Clark Rockefeller on the way to his club. He remembers everyone’s name and his easy charm has the ladies swooning. He seems like a solid dude and we know he’s not a fly by night as his name is painted on a board of former presidents of the club.
All is not as it seems however when he tells his driver an elaborate tale about someone stalking him and the chauffeur pitches in when the baddie seemingly tries to grab Clark’s daughter during their custody visit. We soon learn that the ‘stalker’ is in fact a chaperone and that Clark has kidnapped his own child. Clark’s ex-wife shows up and after a bit of flapping about over a dropped teddy gives the police a statement. This forms the main part of the film’s narrative flow as the 12 year marriage is scrutinised by a cop keen on gossip.
The lady detective, played by Jonas’ annoying wife out of ‘The Unit’ is a bit of a pain and all judgemental over the wife not spotting the subtle clues that Clark wasn’t all he said he was - the lack of cash for one. Luckily the ex-wife, Sandra, is loaded as she has a high flying job. This allows Clark to carry out his philanthropic acts which mainly consist of buying wine and talking bull shit. As Sandra’s tale gets nearer the present day and her televised plea for her daughter - remember that? - the police start to piece together Clark’s life.
Clark started out as a German exchange student but soon learned of peoples’ gullibility and set him self up as European royalty. After losing his accent he spins through several jobs and possibly a couple of murders. The film isn’t too explicit on this point as it was still pre-trial when it was made but Wikipedia tells us that he totally did it!
While the wife is sounding off and the police are doing those magical internet searches you only get in films we also see Clark enjoy a few days with his daughter. Will her new tomboy hair grow out and will the bumbling cops finally nail their man after 20 years?
I’ve seen a few of these TV movies lately and this is certainly the best of them. The production values were pretty good with Will out of ‘Will & Grace’ in the lead. I’ve never watched the show but he was a compelling and likable actor in a role where he could just have been a real shit. That was well judged as everyone else got suckered so why not the viewer too?
There weren’t any explosions or car chases but at least they went to the expense of recreating Clarks jobs as a surgeon and scientist and that flashback German mullet wig must have cost $20 at least! The film is a trim 86 minutes and it covers a lot of ground in that time. The story was well told and it certainly held my interest throughout.
Best Bit : I’m saving the economy of Liberia! ’W’ Rating 15/23