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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>
This courtroom thriller was one of the films that spawned a huge wave of copycats through the mid '80's and early '90's. Now, of course, these types of stories are on TV nightly in the glut of crime/law based shows. However, in 1985, audiences could still be (and were) riveted to the big screen by stories like this. Bridges plays a newspaper editor whose wife is brutally murdered along with their maid (in an opening sequence that is not overly graphic, yet is very disturbing.) Before long, he is prime suspect in the killings and is defended by a tentative, reluctant Close who is trying to redeem herself after some earlier unethical legal behavior. She squares off with slimy former prosecuting partner Coyote (in a slick, effective performance) to clear Bridges. She then, foolishly, becomes intimate with Bridges. There is constant doubt in her mind, as well as in the audience's, as to whether or not Bridges did the deed or not. Because the story is a tease and exists to manipulate and captivate the audience, there are plot holes galore. However, the film works very well on a visceral level, providing twists and shocks along the way (including one startling break-in near the end which is jarring no matter how many times it is seen.) The film's greatest strength is the acting, notably Close. Unlike later Eszterhas scripts, in which no one is sympathetic, she is a heroine to root for, despite her flaws. She brings great conviction to her poorly conceived role. Bridges does well also as the perfectly moussed, tan dreamboat who might be a savage murderer. Loggia brings a welcome salty edge to the film with his foul-mouthed portrayal of Close's investigator friend. All cussing and cigarettes, he is a stock Eszterhas character, but is acted well. There are other fine smaller roles played by Dehner as a crusty judge, Young as a haughty rich-bitch and Austin (an underrated actress) as an attack victim. Close has two annoying kids and a wimpy ex-husband to make her life that much more unbearable. Drawbacks to the film would be the illogic of the script and the bizarre editing of the courtroom scenes in which the clothing Bridges and (especially) Close wear inexplicably switch! Her hair is also consistently inconsistent throughout...(within scenes!)...flat one moment, curly the next, varying in height and swoop, etc.... The discordant music by Barry is very unsettling and his use of low piano keys doubtlessly inspired Jerry Goldsmith for "Basic Instinct". It's the same type of sound. Folks expecting a watertight story will be disappointed. Those who just want to be entertained and spooked should love it.
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