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San Francisco heiress Page Forrester is brutally murdered in her remote beach house. Her husband Jack is devastated by the crime but soon finds himself accused of her murder. He hires lawyer Teddy Barnes to defend him, despite the fact she hasn't handled a criminal case for many years. There's a certain chemistry between them and Teddy soon finds herself defending the man she loves. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
I don't know why JAGGED EDGE is known as one of the best mystery films of the '80s. Let's face that this decade was not amazingly great for movies, but of course there were better mystery films: DRESSED TO KILL, BLOW OUT, HOUSE OF GAMES, BODY HEAT, just a few that come to mind. JAGGED EDGE is not able to escape from most of the clichés of courtroom drama and what it's worst: it shamelessly manipulates the audience. The main comment here has the same complaint, so I think many people agree with me. The one that should be blamed is Joe Eszterhas, who would write the screenplay for BASIC INSTINCT, a worldwide success, seven years later. He knows how to manipulate audiences, to make them stay aware and to keep their attention tightly without a shame, purposing questions with only two answers: yes or no. Did he kill her or didn't he? Eszterhas makes us believe in both possibilities several times during less than two hours. Using, of course, not very credible plot twists. ....... OK! So JAGGED EDGE is cliched and manipulative. It's difficult to forgive the first, but why shouldn't we forgive the latter? Don't we like to be cheated in some cases?
If you think it's difficult to forgive the way this film grabs you, there are other ways to like it. The story, even cliched, is still interesting and suspenseful. The directing is great and the actors are pretty good. Glenn Close is reliable as the lawyer and Jeff Bridges, who has made a career of hits (ARLINGTON ROAD) and misses (KISS ME GOODBYE), is convincing as the mysterious client.
JAGGED EDGE is a flawed film, but its manipulation has a good side. At least we care about the characters and the story. This is not a good way to write screenplays. This is not the best thriller of the '80s. But it is far ahead of some cheap productions of the '90s (BODY OF EVIDENCE, SLIVER, both with similar situations to JAGGED EDGE).
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