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Physical Evidence (1989)

A police officer suspended and now accused of murder is forced to join forces with his court-appointed attorney to assemble the pieces of a deadly puzzle to find the missing link before time runs out.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
James Nicks
...
Deborah Quinn
...
Kyle
...
Matt Farley
...
Harry Norton
...
Strickler
Ken James ...
Hank Carruth
Michael P. Moran ...
Tony Reugger
Angelo Rizacos ...
Tony Sklar
Lamar Jackson ...
Delmar Fraser
Paul Hubbard ...
Burt Knight
Larry Reynolds ...
Trial Judge
...
Brannigan
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Storyline

Extortionist Jake Farley is found strangled, and the clues lead directly to former detective Joe Paris, who insists on his innocence but can't provide an alibi. Public defendant Jenny Hudson gets the case, but has problems unravelling the case, complicated by the fact that virtually everyone hated Farley, and Paris has a few enemies as well. She rejects the prosecution's offers to plea bargain, but meanwhile the witnesses she finds are discredited or silenced, and an unidentified patrol car shadows Paris and Hudson wherever they go. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If he's innocent, the truth could save him. If he's guilty, the lies could kill her. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 January 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az igazság törvénye  »

Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$3,560,932 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Speaking of his Joe Paris character in "Physical Evidence, a veteran of more than forty films, star Burt Reynolds said: "This seems to be the first true victim I've played in movies. He's a dedicated cop who has lost his temper, lost his job and now he is about to lose his freedom. He's a loner who drinks too much and is emotionally volatile. Joe is not a particularly sympathetic character. Rather than coming to the rescue and taking charge, this time I must turn to someone else to try to bail me out, and it's not just that she's a woman that creates the conflict. Joe and Jenny are as different as night and day". See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 27 mins) It is night when the cop brings food to the cruiser. But, seconds later it is clearly daytime. See more »

Quotes

Jenny Hudson: [to Joe] Be nice, Mr. Paris. Your ass is in my hands.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Theresa Russell defends Burt Reynolds against a murder rap
16 January 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Physical Evidence" (1989) is an unheralded neo-noir. Burt Reynolds is excellent as a suspended cop. He's short-tempered. He drinks to the point where he blacks out. Like "Dirty Harry", he plays rough in a very rough game against criminals always seeking the upper hand. But he's not a murderer. He was suspended because he shoved his partner through a window when that partner was about to shoot an unarmed suspect.

Burt has integrity. When a scumbag extortionist named Farley is murdered, Reynolds is framed for the crime. Physical evidence is all against him. When he finally does discover his alibi during a period when he had blacked out, he doesn't want to expose the witness (Kay Lenz) to danger from her husband who would kill her if she testified she was with Burt.

Defending Burt is Theresa Russell, rather new in the public defender's office but capable and sure of herself. She's all right in the role. The prosecuting attorney is Ned Beatty, always pressuring Russell to cop a plea, but she refuses. Even her boss thinks she's risking Burt's life with this strategy.

The story is told in a different way than most such stories. It mixes courtroom scenes with scenes out of court, because Burt is out on bail. It doesn't become a courtroom drama solely, and it doesn't become an investigative drama solely. It merges the two. A romance element very gradually creeps in between Reynolds and Russell, as she sheds her bond salesman fiancé. The movie delves in some detail into the family criminal business of the dead Farley. The character of his lying son is built up nicely and he testifies in court. The judge has to make several rulings, and his part is nicely-developed too.

Prior reviewers are mostly very negative on this film. I don't see it that way at all. It seems to me to be a perfectly normal or average neo-noir crime story. It's quite watchable. The thing about it is that it tends to be very steady in tone, lacking extended high spots or intense spots or memorable dialog. It has its moments of action and tension, however. They're not overdone or exaggerated as in some more recent neo-noirs.


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