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An 8 year old Amish boy and his mother are traveling to Philadelphia, on their way to visit the mother's sister. While waiting at the train station, the young boy witnesses a brutal murder inside one of the bathroom stall. Police detective John Book is assigned to investigate the murder of the man, who was a undercover cop. Soon after, Book finds out that he's in great danger when the culprits know about his investigation and hides out in the Amish community. There, he learns the way of living among the Amish locals, which consists of non-violence and agriculture. Book soon starts a romance with the mother of the little boy, but their romance is forbidden by the Amish standards. But, it's not long before the bad guys find out Book's whereabouts. Written by
Harrison Ford is one of those actors that often times just shows up and then there lies his character. This is the Harrison Ford school of acting. Not the case in "Witness". I won't begin to wonder what would have caused this change of pace, but it was quite a surprise to see. Peter Weir is a favorite director of mine, mainly for his life changing films (for the viewer and the characters alike), like "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and "Fearless" ... and I have sadly waited a very long time to get around to this one. Even 17 years after its initial release, it seems to still stand up with themes that truly speak. I expected some sort of a courtroom drama, but instead found a film that presents a dichotomy between old world and new world values and sensibilities and really asks whether change is always for the best. This is a profound and exciting thriller.
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