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The Accused is directed by Jonathan Kaplan and written by Tom Topor. It
stars Jodie Foster and Kelly McGillis. Music is by Brad Fiedel and
cinematography by Ralf D. Bode.
After Sarah Tobias (Foster) suffers a brutal rape in a road side bar one night, prosecutor Kathryn Murphy (McGillis) takes up the case to bring the perpetrators to justice. Including the ones who encouraged and cheered on the attack.
Some have bemoaned The Accused as being a TV movie type production, while the thematic edge of Sarah Tobias being a "good time gal, even slutty", has caused consternation in highbrow circles. What garbage!
Depressingly based around an incident that occurred in Massachusetts 1983, The Accused is still a powerful film watching experience over twenty years after it was released. It finds Kaplan and Topor refusing to sweeten the meal, it is what it is, uncompromising in detail whilst casting sleazy like shadows over the justice system and the marginalisation of Sarah Tobias. In fact, as an observation of the law, with its plea bargains and shifting around of character judgements and actions, it's a potent piece of cinema.
Foster is terrific and completely deserved her Oscar win for Best Actress. She has Sarah as tough and demonstrative in her belief that justice has not been served, that because she likes a drink, a tug of weed and a flirt with the boys, she is fair game to be ganged raped whilst others cheer on like Neanderthals. The energy and raw emotion shown by Foster is fantastic and a lesson in acting that budding actresses should study. McGillis was overlooked for praise, but she also is wonderful, brilliantly written by Topor, Kathryn Murphy in McGillis' hands builds from a weary cynic at the beginning to a force of nature later in the courtroom. The scenes there between Foster and McGillis are enough to shatter your heart.
Opening the film with a scene that sees Sarah screaming and fleeing from the bar, her clothes torn, the makers rightly show the actual rape at the end of the film in flashback form. It's harrowing and devastating, and the point where the picture achieves all the goals it set itself. If you are sitting there thinking about TV production value or predictability? Then quite frankly you really haven't been paying attention. 9/10
Jodie Foster hits a home run in her Oscar-winning performance in this
Foster epitomizes the low class girl,coming from a broken home and rapidly going nowhere at all in her totally dysfunctional life.
When she is brutally gang raped at a bar, the onus is put on her. Her miserable life, her dress, her drinking, her use of drugs shall all be used against her in a trial.
She is angered when her attorney settles for a lower plea, but is up to the task when the former realized her mistake and will now prosecute those who provoked the brutal attack by their screaming and encouraging the participants.
The rape scene is self is brutally staged but unfortunately that what was needed here.
This hard-hitting drama reflects a tragic social issue of our times.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is very hard watching this movie because it is such a shocking
story. A girl is gang raped by 3 men in a bar, where a crowd of male
customers are shouting, clapping and cheering it on like it's a show.
Jodie Foster plays Sarah Tobias, the girl who is raped. She is not shown as this good virgin but someone who has made mistakes in the past and on the night she was raped but in no way deserved what happened to her. It is shown that before she was raped, she was drunk, had smoked pot, flirted with the men and even made a joke about taking one of them back to her trailer and sleeping with him in front of her boyfriend's face. It must have been a very demanding role for Jodie Foster to do, especially near the end of the film where we see a flashback of the rape and it is very realistic and goes a lot further than any other films about rape has. It must have been very hard for Jodie to do that sequence most of all. She is totally amazing in this role where her character comes across as tough but has a vulnerable side and doesn't have anyone to look out for her until Kathryn Murphy (Kelly McGillis) comes into her life.
Kelly McGillis does start off as cool but as the story goes on, we see a compassionate woman who wants to stand up for Sarah's rights and wants to right the wrong she did when she accepted a plea bargain for the charge of reckless endangerment with Sarah's rapists. She then decides the only way she can make up for it, is to prosecute the men who egged the rapists on and feels she can prosecute them using the charge of criminal solicitation which means the rapists will stay in jail for the whole sentence.
I liked the relationship between McGillis and Foster who are completely different people. Sarah is more loose, she's been arrested for drugs in the past, she smokes pot and drinks, she lives in a trailer park and is into astrology. Kathryn, on the other hand, comes across as squeaky clean, a goody-two shoes, conservative, educated in Law school, and is very middle-class. You wouldn't think these two could ever bond but they do over this case and end up caring for one another in a way neither thought they would.
The film is very graphic and leaves nothing to the imagination in the rape sequence and the language that is used. The language during the rape when the crowd is shouting 'Hold her down', 'needle-dick', 'poke that pussy' is very colourful and cruel. It shows these men have a total disregard of the feelings for women, particularly the callous way they talk about the rape as being a show Sarah put on and the rapists were only following her actions and don't have any reason to feel guilty for what they did to her.
It is a difficult film to watch but when the film ends, you have a positive feeling that justice has been served as the men who egged on the rape are just as bad and guilty as the rapists.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A girl is raped by a bunch of men in the game room of a bar, and they
are cheered on by other drunks. No one wants to come forward about what
they saw, and the girl's lawyer gives in easily by letting the men off
on a lesser charge and lesser jail time. The victim is furious and
feels even more trashy because she doesn't want these guys to walk away
with the truth hidden. The lawyer then decides to prosecute the guys
who cheered and supported the rape in order to make sure the truth
This movie had a much deeper meaning and story than simply a rape. The victim here comes off as flirty and provocatively dressed and often times it makes it seem like they were "asking for it" and a girls character can really be hurt by that and this movie beautifully shows that no matter how you act, or dress, or even what you say has no justification on rape or doing something to someone when they tell you "no". It's rape pure and simple and these jerks that watched and cheered and did nothing are very responsible and very guilty too. The movie had many good messages and it's an honest depiction of rape and how people try to classify it in different ways, when in reality rape is rape and there are no innocent sexual abuse or rape cases out there.
I thought Jodie did an amazing job, as did Kelly McGillis as her attorney. Bernie Coulson is also a great underrated star who did well here. Leo Rossi is such an annoying actor when he needs be and he did really well as one of the "cheerleaders" here. The direction was pretty good and the over all story was very nicely done. I think the thing I liked best was the victim's need to become a stronger woman after the events occurred, that really spoke to me, because it was almost like a passage into womanhood for her.
I thought the movie was really good, it was honest and blunt and did well with telling the whole story without details and then at the end it had the courtroom drama, which I always love, and then the details come out and we here them from many peoples point of view. 4/10 stars - nice drama
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Foster's performance makes a point to not let the audience off easy on this film: She is not trying to liked, or particularly vulnerable in any clichéd way. She simply -is- vulnerable, in fact, though not in the superficial sense of personal style, or in the deeper sense of self- esteem. And so, the viewer may find themselves facing the same confusion that a juror might have: Can a victim be so unsympathetic that they are no longer considered truly a victim? Perhaps a deeper film could have been made by not letting us -ever- view the rape scene, (where all doubt is removed for any rational person), but it is well done, and put off long enough in the altered time-line to give us a good chance to weigh some evidence on our own. As the character progresses, there is a duality of her actually becoming more of a sensitive person along with her learning how to be perceived in more positive light by the judge and jury. I found this intersection of real emotion and manipulation to be true to life. Personality itself is the tip of our personal iceberg, as superficial as a haircut, the part we manipulate to wend our way through life; changing is no more insincere than a new hairstyle would be.
Jodie Foster's performance is good and the gang rape scene at the end of the
film is horrific, but the whole movie has the unfortunate feel of a
made-for-TV movie. As Jarvis Cocker of Pulp sang, "A movie made for TV,
with bad dialogue, bad acting, and no interest. Along with no story and no
Actually, I don't feel the movie was THAT uneventful (I just wanted to squeeze in the Pulp reference, to tell you the truth.) But the difficult subject matter is rendered tame with a boring court case and lots of "You can't win this trial!" dialogue between Kelly McGillis and her bosses. What's worse, the conclusion of the case of the case is never in doubt. Yawn.
The movie is best when it focuses on how Sarah reacts to the rape. She is a fragile woman who acts braver than she is, and her struggle with the rape is rendered clearly and plainly on Foster's face and in her mannerisms. The scene in the record store is uncomfortable and disconcerting, as it should be.
McGillis, though, isn't believable as the prosecutor. She is too bland, too unconvincing; she seems like a calculated attempt at a strong woman character. She never exists as anything more than "the lawyer."
This could have been a very powerful film, one that conveys the pain and anguish of such a terrible crime. As it is, I had to settle for a few powerful moments and some toothless filler.
The same year Jodie Foster got an Oscar for "The Accused" Meryl Streep was nominated for "A Cry In The Dark" Both films climax in a court room. Look at Jodie and look at Meryl. Jodie (don't get me wrong she's always been one of my favourites) but her intelligence, her brain, overshadows her character's predicament. Her "anguish" in the witness box lacks the emotion it requires because there is something about Jodie that tells us, she is really on top of it. She is acting, beautifully, but acting. Meryl, on the other hand, is heartbreaking in the witness box in "A Cry In The Dark" the intelligence of the actress doesn't come to interfere with the character's. The actress is in total control. Jodie is a very good actress, Meryl is a genius. At the centre of "The Accused" is Jodie's brain, so compelling in "Silence of the Lambs" so distracting in "The Accused"
The activist group Femen protests topless. The question is does the
objectification of women and attendant arousal of men viewing the
protests mute the message.
The Accused has the same problem. It is a film about a brutal gang rape. It is shown in detail and for a long time. It is also a film about a real rape; one who trial made a victim out of the victim and heroes out of the rapists. In the film, the story is retold with different results. The film tries to depict events as they should have been,
Jodie Foster won an Oscar for her role as the victim. It was a tough role, but she made it work.
The question you have to ask yourself while you watch the rape: Is is a turn-on, or can you feel the pain?
Jodie Foster plays Sarah Tobias, a small-town waitress with a bad
reputation(and drug user) who is brutally attacked by three men in a
bar, who were also being cheered on by some of the onlookers. Sarah is
determined to convince the District Attorney on the case(Kelly
McGillis) to bring it to trial, not just the three attackers, but the
onlookers as well.
Powerful film is supremely well acted by Jodie Foster(Academy Award Winner)Film runs the risk of being crass exploitation, but is well directed, and again it is the sympathetic and defiant performance of Jodie as this wronged, violated woman that makes this film work as well as it does.
Not for the faint-hearted.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One thing I found interesting about "The Accused" - a film that's
famous for the vicious rape of a young blue-collar woman - is just how
they chose to go about making such a movie. You know going in that
there's a bad scene, and that the rest of the movie deals with the
repercussions. But the film begins immediately after the atrocity went
down. We open with Jodie Foster desperately flagging down a ride to
make good her escape, and flow right into the doctor's examination of
her ghastly welts, claw marks and bruising. The tone is set without any
on screen violence.
Now, there's still a "bad scene" involved, but it doesn't happen until we've spent some time in the courtroom. It's a flashback, although the tension and foreboding have been ratcheted to obscene heights that it's still, to this day, beyond brutal (nauseating would be the better way to put it).
The whole of the movie is not easy to watch, and it's one that doesn't hold a lot of replay value. But the reason to recommend it (and I'm sure it has been for 25 years) is the performances from the two leads. Both are exceptional, but Foster won that Oscar for a reason. At the center of this movie are two women who are fighting; one for her side of the story to be heard (after her character assassination in the eyes of the public), and the attorney who's out to help her find justice.
"The Accused" is not as harrowing as "Leaving Las Vegas", but it's still no day at the beach. Regardless, should this movie ever come up in conversation, my recommendation will be based entirely on those performances from Jodie Foster and Kelly McGillis.
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