Fearless, feminist icon and glamorous lady detective, Phryne Fisher, has returned from an extended hiatus for an all-new, high-flying adventure. Rejoice! Our favorite flapper is back. The Crypt of Tears was announced over two years ago as Miss Fisher’s first feature film. The movie was entirely funded by Phryne’s fiercest admirers and was supposed to debut this month in limited release. Because of recent events, the filmmakers graciously decided to make the movie more accessible to Phryne’s adoring fans by sending it straight to the streaming platform ACORN TV (You do need a subscription for the service, but they do offer a seven day trial, so you can sneak a peek at the film for free). The Crypt of Tears is a flashy, thrilling edition to the Murder Mysteries family. In this chapter, Phryne takes the reins on an epic quest overflowing with lies and ancient curses, challenging her long-time affair with Detective Inspector Jack Robinson.
When we last saw the infamous Miss Fisher at the end of season three, she had just given a farewell smooch to Jack before flying away to return her beloved father to London. At least one year has past since the duo said their farewells, but the exact timeline remains ambiguous. Phryne has now found herself in Jerusalem, attempting to release a young woman from an unjust imprisonment.
Like most of Phryne’s travels, The Crypt of Tears is fraught with all kinds of hi-jinks, precarious situations, numerous deaths, and endless flirtations. It’s your signature Fisher murder mystery, Phryne’s exquisite flair and 1920’s style included. This is one of Crypt of Tears greatest strengths, but also one of its greatest weaknesses. Crypt of Tears would have been more suited for a TV special rather than a major motion picture. In fact, it is because of its lengthy runtime that the film’s story is overwrought with inconsequential plot points and muddled scenes. The noticeable absence of Hugh and Dot – Phryne and Jack’s faithful companions – doesn’t help either. The threads of the plot are so twisted and tangled, when the final solution arrives and the murder has been solved you’re left scratching your head. The consequences of the characters actions don’t necessarily affect the story, at all. You’re not really sure what happened. You may understand the final conclusion before Jack and Phryne do.
What Crypt of Tears does exceptionally well, however, is reinforcing Jack and Phryne’s fluctuating bond. It’s what we love and hate most about the show. Their game of cat and mouse has been going on for years with no end in sight. Crypt of Tears finally allows the couple to solidify their slow moving relationship, even if it is three seasons too late.
It is still unclear whether or not we will get a season four of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, but the precarious ending of the film kinda-sorta advertised more amorous adventures for Phryne and Jack. I will certainly be keeping my fingers crossed. The Crypt of Tears may have not been my favorite episode, but it satiated my overwhelming desire to see more Phryne Fisher, her tough-as-nails attitude, and unencumbered lifestyle on my screen. I hope she doesn’t stay away too long this time. She will definitely be missed.