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Bobby Earl is facing the electric chair for the murder of a young girl. Eight years after the crime he calls in Paul Armstrong, a professor of law, to help prove his innocence. Armstrong quickly uncovers some overlooked evidence to present to the local police, but they aren't interested - Bobby was their killer. Written by
We hear a dial tone on Paul Armstrong's cellular phone. See more »
Hey, you want my money, you best start throwing some elbow into that, boy. A dollar fifty, that's two bits shy of a car wash.
Kid Washing Car #1:
A dollar fifty *each*.
Oh man, now you must got me confused with some other idiot.
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"Just Cause" is a psychological thriller about the American justice system in general, and capital punishment in particular. Sean Connery plays Paul Armstrong, a law professor who strongly opposes capital punishment. Responding to a plea, Armstrong comes out of semi-retirement and travels to Florida to help the young, black death row prisoner Bobby Earl Ferguson, who claims he has been falsely convicted of murder. Upon investigating Bobby Earl's case, Armstrong soon discovers several grave discrepancies, to the dismay of the local police officer, Tanny Brown (played by Laurence Fishburne). Racism and blind hatred, rather than actual proof, seems to have convicted Bobby Earl; and Armstrong sets out to clear the young man's reputation. In order to succeed, he needs to find out exactly how much Bobby Earl's cell-mate, the psychotic Blair Sullivan, knows about the murder.
In a movie like this, things aren't always what they seem. There are several plot twists which surprise the audience (one of them includes Armstrong's young wife and her past), and towards the end of the film, the action really starts to set in, and Armstrong's own convictions are tested as he finds his family in the hands of a mad killer. The movie depends on atmosphere and suspense until the last twenty minutes, when all hell breaks loose. It is nicely photographed, with several scenes from the damp, alligator-filled swamps surrounding the little Florida town.
Sean Connery is reliable as the stout, solid professor Armstrong, and as the centerpiece of the movie, he is totally convincing. But as the dubious police officer Tanny Brown, it is Laurence Fishburne who truly excels. He seems to own every scene he's in, and he fills his part to perfection. Kate Capshaw as Mrs. Armstrong and Blair Underwood as Bobby Earl also delivers strong performances. Several supporting actors, like Ned Beatty and Lynne Thigpen, adds to the quality of the film. The only real drawback among the actors is Ed Harris, whose portrayal of the psycho Sullivan is embarrassingly over-the-top. Harris sputters and screams, and fails to deliver anything remotely scary (as he obviously is supposed to). Compared to another movie psycho, the deliciously evil Hannibal Lecter, Harris' Sullivan is simply annoying.
"Just Cause" doesn't offer anything radically new in this movie genre, but it is a solid, mostly well-acted film who should deliver enough thrills and excitement to satisfy most viewers. Rating on a dice, I'll give it a 4 out of 6.
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