Carolyn Polhemus, an up-and-comer in the Kindle County D.A.'s Office, is found viciously murdered in her home. Immediately her boss, D.A. Raymond Horgan and his chief deputy, Rusty Sabich ...
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Carolyn Polhemus, an up-and-comer in the Kindle County D.A.'s Office, is found viciously murdered in her home. Immediately her boss, D.A. Raymond Horgan and his chief deputy, Rusty Sabich start an investigation. Horgan, however, is in the middle of a campaign to keep his job, which he ultimately loses to former subordinate Nico Della Guardia. Della Guardia and his new deputy, Tommy Molto, decide to prosecute Sabich for Carolyn's murder when it is revealed that Sabich was a former lover of Polhemus. Horgan also turns against his former subordinate, and Rusty soon realizes he has few friends left - except for Sandy Stern, whom he has often faced on the other side of the courtroom, and who will become his new defense lawyer when he is put on trial for murder. Investigation by Stern and his team leads them to think that Rusty was framed for murder - by Molto, who wanted Sabich's job and was trying to punish him for backing Horgan. Is Rusty Sabich innocent...or is he a murderer? Written by
When Rusty is discussing the case in Stern's office, there is a small figurine of a deer on the end table holding the lamp. When the camera angle changes to Rusty sitting next to the same table, the figurine is gone. See more »
I'm a prosecutor. I'm part of the business of accusing, judging and punishing. I explore the evidence of a crime and determine who is charged, who is brought to this room to be tried before his peers. I present my evidence to the jury and they deliberate upon it. They must determine what really happened. If they cannot, we will not know whether the accused deserves to be freed or should be punished. If they cannot find the truth, what is our hope of justice?
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This is cracking matinée fare. The cast is a big pool of Hollywood stalwarts as a fine supporting ensemble giving a thoughtful, adult vehicle to a typically thoughtful, adult lead from Harrison Ford. The drama is quite quiet and internal: don't be put off, as the cast handle it in a way decided non-European, investing characters with credible melodramatics and keeping everything entirely engaging. Some of the best courtroom set pieces I can remember.
The plot is a detailed psychological thriller that one finds hard to keep absolutely on top of, yet Pakula keeps his eye on the top layer. The story unfolds steadily and inexorably. I watched it for a second time on DVD this morning and even knowing the ending and the twists that bring it about I couldn't see them flagged up at any point in Ford's performance.
It's a film about the strengths and weaknesses of law - of civilisation
of the pitfalls of trying to be moral (referred to as 'ideal'
throughout). Above all it tries to address humanity and love which it does patiently, accurately and really very entertainingly 8/10
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