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There's a big laugh in the middle of this contrived psychological
thriller. I won't give it away, because it's easily the best moment in
the film. It's the scene in a bar with Don Johnson, and it sketches in
his character more brilliantly than anything before or after. You'll
know it when you see it.
Well, if you see it. If the script had displayed that kind of wit throughout, this movie would be a must-see. As it is, there is too little that makes it memorable and too much that makes it hard to suspend disbelief.
Rebecca De Mornay plays a flashy criminal defense attorney who does her job with spectacular cunning even for the most unsavory defendants. But her newest client (Don Johnson) is not just unsavory. He could be dangerous enough to kill her.
The first thing you'll notice is Howard Shore's excellent score during the title sequence. It's silky and sinister and immediately draws you in (despite the tacky-looking computer graphic that accompanies it). Next, the film looks really good. Sidney Lumet who also gave us "Twelve Angry Men," "The Verdict" and many other terrific movies knows how to direct a good courtroom thriller. And what a courtroom. The photographer, Andrzej Bartkowiak, makes the most of this spacious green-marble set.
An early scene is promising. Don Johnson glides into De Mornay's office and asks her to take his case, brazenly confessing that he's a womanizer and a gigolo yet innocent of throwing his wife out of a skyscraper window. She refuses at first, but Johnson's boyish egotism is too hypnotically fascinating.
But later, both actors falter. De Mornay makes several bad choices in her performance, playing too many scenes like a frightened rabbit. Johnson has a scene in his apartment, where he makes a sandwich with a long kitchen knife that he winds up waving in De Mornay's face. His character loses control, but so does the actor. Johnson looks and sounds ridiculous.
But the main problem is the script from schlock-horror director Larry Cohen. First, there's Jack Warden's character, a father figure to De Mornay, who comes off as purely functional. He's there to do things De Mornay's character cannot, and we don't give a damn about him, not even when he winds up in danger.
Second, De Mornay ends up framing her own client, an enormously risky endeavor that could easily destroy her career and even send her to prison. Why? Presumably to protect herself and other women from Johnson. But the movie fails to convince us she has no saner options.
Third, there's the woman who becomes a last-minute witness for the defense. I won't give away too much, but her motivation for doing what she does is totally inscrutable.
Lastly, there's the gruesome climax. It plays ludicrously, though De Mornay is allowed one last, good moment. Her hysteria at the peak of her ordeal is touchingly real. Otherwise, the whole thing feels forced and phony.
So does the movie.
Every few years you see a performance by an actor in something that
really impresses you, where you want to watch the whole thing again
just to watch him/her, where the person is so fascinating as a
character, so extraordinarily in that role, that the performance just
BECOMES the experience. That was true in this movie with Don Johnson -
on one level alone, he was more believable as a fabulously wealthy man
who'd been wildly successful on all levels throughout his life - than
anyone I've ever seen.
Think of say, the great performances of say, Steve McQueen in Thomas Crown Affair, any actor who's played James Bond, any of the wonderful character actors playing wealthy men in movies like My Man Godfrey, The Philadelphia Story, Holiday, The Awful Truth, Meet John Doe, Fifth Avenue Girl, Bachelor Mother, You Can't Take it With You -- and Don Johnson is yet more believable.
Nothing's ever gone wrong for this man - and he relies on it, and he's very very smart, and very very charming, and he knows all of that - and yet somehow he IS charming nonetheless -- And you suspect from the first moment, there is something bad there.
I remember thinking when I saw Lisa Eichhorn in 1979 in Yanks, that I had seen someone who really and truly seemed that character - Don Johnson seems this character and it's a great and effortless performance and you should see it. (And if you weren't a fan of his television series, don't worry - neither was I - I never really paid attention to him - and wham, I'm now a fan!).
This guy has gotten to be a superb actor.
Stalking and talking seems to be what "Guilty as Sin" is all about. Don Johnson does the stalking of his lawyer, Rebecca De Mornay, and everyone in the film talks and talks. Unfortunately, the womanizing Johnson, comes across as an almost unreal villain. He assaults Stephen Lang, yet no police are ever involved. He produces a surprise witness, who's motivation for giving him an alibi for his wife's murder borders on ridiculous. The only redeeming factor about Don Johnson is that his character is so despicable, you have to hang around for the ending, simply to see him get what's due. Don't blink however because the end when it finally does come is both swift and a real stretch of reality. Watchable, but not much more. - MERK
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I love thrillers so I was able to watch Guilty as Sin and moderately enjoy it while at the same time understanding that it just wasn't a very good movie. The film lacked a certain something, it's hard to say what that is but I guess it's just not as suspenseful as it should be. Many thrillers or movies that get lumped in as thrillers are preposterous when you really think about them(think "Double Jepardy, 'The Net" and "Final Analysis" to name just a few). I enjoyed throughly the above mentioned movies and would see any of them again-with Guilty as sin there was just an edge missing.
The whole thing was supposed to be a cat and mouse game, a battle of wills between don Johnson and Rebecca De Mornay's character's but it wasn't that fascinating-maybe because neither character was to exciting so how could their relationship really matter to us?
The thing that surprised me was De Mornay's character-I loved her in The hand that rocks the cradle, I thought she was chilling!- but here it just doesn't work-and Don Johnson was so evil at the end with that smirk-but the whole thing goes from psychological thriller to slasher movie-not that it was great to begin with but the central theme though the movie-actually themes-as 1 other IMDb reviewer noted were involving-murder and sex-did Johnson do it and would De Mornay have an affair with him-these are nice cheesy thriller themes but the movie just doesn't pull it off-it's at the most only moderately engaging and at the worst slightly dull.
Rebecca de Mornay and Don Johnson made a great double act for this gripping
As usual Rebecca de Mornay put everything she had into her role as Jennifer Haines and she did a grand job avoiding the stereotypical lawyer role. Don Johnson also performed well in one of his best roles. I enjoyed Johnson in Miami Vice and Nash Bridges and I was pleasantly surprised when he convincingly portrayed a cool and calculated psycho.
The story itself is gripping throughout and Johnson really is scary in his role as David Greenhill. One moment he is all sane and has the audience feeling sorry for him;the next moment he is a total psycho.
I strongly recommend this underrated little gem.
Johnson plays a womaniser accused of murdering his rich wife. DeMornay
is the hot shot lawyer defending him. After a while DeMornay regrets
having taken him on, gets convinced of his guilt and is afraid he may
have some designs for her.
Slow but interesting thriller from Lumet. Film creates a kind of cat and mouse game between the two leads that's well written and fairly suspenseful. Rebecca DeMornay is tolerable in the lead, never quite convincing as the tough no nonsense lawyer. Much more effective when she's all broken down and vulnerable. Don Johnson however excels in his part, playing a slimy bad guy (who's, by the way, totally obsessed with himself) to a tee. Pity Johnson didn't establish himself as a major player in Hollywood.
Guilty as Sin is a bit slow but it's got a good story and some genuine suspense. You could do a lot worse.
What makes Guilty Of Sin so much fun, lies in it's title. We wanna believe the bad guy, Johnson, who we believe is pretty much guilty from the start, the movie's title, a strong inference, so you really can't call it a thriller. Johnson has always been an underestimated or underrated actor in my opinion, who never grade of A list, but has given so many good performances. Only here as a sexy, slimy, smarmy, narcissistic, son of a bitch who is as the title refers, he's exceptionally good, while De Mornay, defending him, isn't too bad. She falls for him, of course, despite the fact she's already involved. She soon realizes, this is her downfall, and by now he's pretty much soon he's got her, making her shake and cringe. Soon people around her are getting hurt, and the game becomes more violent. I've never enjoyed watching Don Johnson more, than in this, it's cool finale making you wanna jump up and clap. Despite the movie being a tad dry, with a kind of slow moving story, the latter really doesn't affect the film, thanks to bad guy Johnson and all the effectively tense and truly scary moments he delivers, in his performance, where sinning never looked better.
I have seen this movie numerous times and it has become one of my
Rebecca DeMornay gives a convincing portrayal of slick Chicago Lawyer Jennifer Haines, who is looking to "feel her oats" as she puts it by taking on the toughest cases she can find. Enter the completely psychotic David Greenhill played extremely smoothly and surprisingly convincingly by Don Johnson.
He is a compulsive womaniser and has lived off of women most of his life. He is cold calculating but also incredibly charming and attractive to women. He is accused of throwing his wife from an 18 storey window and makes a good case for his own innocence. DeMornay though initially reluctant eventually decides to take on his case and here begins a nerve shredding game of Cat and Mouse that will ultimately end badly for one of them.
I really enjoyed the photography and the top drawer performances from the two leads, in particular Don Johnson who totally surprised me in his ability to portray a truly psychotic individual.
Stephen Lang's role as DeMornay's boyfriend is small and ultimately inconsequential in the film, Jack Warden's part is also fairly small but he does okay as an investigative aide to DeMornay. Ultimately though your eyes will be firmly glued on the two leads, to see how this plays out.
The ending although a little unbelievable does not detract much from the film which for me is worth 7/10
I saw this film last night, and was surprised by it. I was very well
written, directed and acted, yet no had put any comments about it on here,
and it only scored a 5.6 user rating.
Well, I'd just like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a clever tense thriller, that wasn't a million miles away from Fatal Attraction with the roles reversed.
The two leading roles were brilliant (Don Jonson genuinely scary). In short, it was certainly a tense thriller that I'd recommend people to see, if only once.
It isn't the best film ever (it came from the writer of Maniac Cop 2 & 3) but it was neatly handled (it WAS directed by Sidney Lumet!).
Check it out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
!!!! POSSIBLE MILD SPOILER !!!!!
As I watched the first half of GUILTY AS SIN I couldn`t believe it was made in 1993 because it played like a JAGGED EDGE / Joe Eszterhas clone from the mid 80s . It starts with a murder and it`s left for the audience to muse " Is he guilty or innocent and will he go to bed with his attorney ? " , but halfway through the film shows its early 90s credentials by turning into a " Lawyer gets manipulated and stalked by her client " type film which ends in a ridiculous manner , and GUILTY AS SIN has an even more ridiculous ending in this respect .
This is a very poor thriller but the most unforgivable thing about it is that it was directed by Sidney Lumet the same man who brought us the all time classic court room drama 12 ANGRY MEN
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