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A surprisingly good thriller. This mystery with conspiracy theory overtones starring Melanie Griffith and Tom Berenger is well constructed. The clues to the killer could have been a touch stronger but it's basically a "play fair" mystery with lots of red herrings to keep you guessing. Berenger, as usual, is very good as the DA opposing defense attorney Griffith, whom he used to date. Griffith is very believable as the sharp attorney often underestimated due to her looks and little girl voice. Singer Huey Lewis is a very pleasant surprise as Griffith's investigator and tech expert.
Who'd have thought that Huey Lewis would have turned out
to be a pretty good actor? The supporting cast of this
film really hold this movie together, under Melanie
Griffith's lead. Tom Berenger gives a great performance
as the ambitious DA, and some of the best moments of
the film are his scenes with Melanie Griffith. Overall,
I think the writers tried too hard with some of the dialogue, but the movie has enough twists and turns and a surprise ending that will keep you thinking past the movie's ending.
Not every actor was meant to play every role. Richard Gere, for example, was ideal as a high-profile, hotshot lawyer in "Primal Fear"; Melanie Griffith plays the female version of more or less the exact same role here, and she makes a valiant try, but the result is just posing, not acting. The film is watchable, thanks mostly to good direction by Randal Kleiser, who gives it the look and feel of a picture destined for theatrical release, even though it barely got any. But it is weakly plotted, and relies on all sorts of contrivances to move along (criminals who are carelessly spilling their guts out about crimes they committed, etc.). And what's worse, it doesn't play fair with the audience; the resolution is based on clues we had no way of knowing about. At least Tom Berenger proves that he is still a dependable actor. (**)
Shadow of Doubt is a courtroom thriller. The best way to describe it is to
say that its like Primal Fear without any of the things that made the
Richard Gere movie a success.
Some rich girl is butchered. The police arrest a rapper who had sex with her earlier that night. His record company offers Melanie Griffith 300.000 dollars to defend him because she's the best around. With such an offer she agrees. The problem is the prosecuter is her ex-husband played by Tom Berenger. It doesnt take long for her to discover that the girl had a relationship with a soon to be presidential candidate. She starts being pressured to drop the case and not to reveal such damaging information but she won't give up until the truth comes out.
Melanie Griffith is completely awful. She never had any talent when it came to acting. Her only talent was her body but age doesn't forgive even with all the plastics in the world. The director doesn't take any advantage of the last signs of her fading beauty anyway so all that is left is her painfull and ridiculous deliver of dialogs that seem to get worse after each line.
Tom Berenger only has about three or four scenes and is obviously ashamed. I hope the paycheck was big because the guy really looked bad for most of the movie given the material he had. Where does fame go? Is this really Sgt. Barnes? Poor guy.
The story is full of holes and stupid situations. The ending is a joke. The investigation leads nowhere. The key to the whole plot is right in front of everybody but only in the last minute does this she make the connection. The dead body was found on a poll with a broken chain on her hand. Of course the police would check if the rest of the gold chain was at the bottom of the pool right? No such luck. How dumb can a script get?
If you take the topless shot of about five seconds that opens the movie you have nothing at all to enjoy here. If you want to admire Melanie's talents try `Something Wild' and if you want something mysterious there are multiple movies to see most of which this steals from.
A mess with nothing at all to enjoy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I didn't think this was to bad. It's not a great picture but it's watchable. Basically, this is a legal "who done it" and it's pretty predictable all around but the plot, though unoriginal, is engrossing and keeps one watching. I'd rate this neither as excellent or dreadful. It's just OK.
The main problems are the lack of believability through the whole movie as well as the predictable story line. The movie also moves Quite quickly and there are not many surprises. One always knows exactly where this movie is going and it never fails to go there. Melodie Griffith stars as the defense attorney and I guess one's enjoyment of the movie will depend on how big a fan one is of Griffith because it seems like she is in almost every scene and though I had a difficult time buying her as a lawyer I did not think she was awful. There wasn't a heck of a lot to work with.
So the lack of complexity and the fast moving story line gives the audience a watchable but not spectacular movie. The revelation of the murderers was done well and I honestly did not expect almost everyone to be involved but it wasn't a shocker either. There is also a seaminess about the movie and a "late night" feel that one cannot get away from. It's a decent watch as a late night B movie but probably could have been better If there had been more of an effort to make the movie feel less contrived and if more originality had been added to the picture as a whole.
The direction I must mention because it was excellent and easily the best aspect of the movie. I'd neither recommend this or not recommend it. People who dig predictable legal thrillers may like this and people who are not Griffith fans or who like their movies with more complexity and suspense may not. My vote is around a 6.5 as a whole. One could do better or they could do worse.
I really enjoyed the chemistry between Tom and Melanie. There seemed to be just the right amount of tension between them to keep me guessing about whether they would get back together or not. Not to mention the twisted plot (not twisted enough to be unbelievable - it was perfect). Thanks! Cheryl Pinner
Nothing to much too add, nothing left to your imagination this is the last series of legal movies with a lot of common places. All the elements of a good commercial thriller are present: perversion, erotism, drugs, power and a woman in career well perform by Melanie Griffith. Tom Berenger it could be easily a statue or part of the furniture of certain scenes. The last political candidate for, hopefully, the last electoral campaign. A very expectable second to second film which in home video gives you a nice break. Rating: 4
This is an awful film. I don't know what is worse, the acting, the exploitation or the script. The ending is a total red herring. The film is rife with references to the Simpson trial and steeped in the world of LA sleeze. Typical LA navel gazing at its worst, this film is horribly misogynistic including the 'hit' rap lyrics of the defendant. I don't get the title at all. Unless the film-makers had never heard of Alfred Hitchcock or the film Shadow of a Doubt, of which I have no doubt!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**SPOILER ALERT** Over-plotted and confusing crime conspiracy flick
about the rich famous and infamous involved in a presidential campaign
that's connected to the death of a major political contributers wild
suicidal and drug addicted daughter.
When Jana Calloway,Sandra Guibord, is found brutally murdered in her outdoor gazebo all the evidence points to up and coming rap singer Bobby Madena, Wade Dominguez, a former drug dealer who was last seen with her at a local L.A night club. An open and shut case at first Madena gets top defense attorney Kitt Devereux, Malanie Griffith,to defend him. This throws the entire case into limbo for the overconfident D.A, Kitt's ex-husband, Jack Campioni, Tom Berenger, who's representing the state.
Madena is anything but helpful to Kitt in refusing to take a manslaughter rap, that Kitt agreed to, that would end up putting him behind bars for eight years instead life or the gas chamber if he's convicted of murder one. Protesting his innocence Madena want's to go all the way to a jury trail refusing to admit to a crime that he didn't commit. Jana's father Norman Calloway, James Karen, is a major contributor to Senator Paul Saxon's, James Morrison, presidential campaign and it later turns out that the senator was more then just a friend of Jana. Saxon was involved in a love affair with Jana that, when he threatened to break it off,lead to her attempted suicide.
The fact that Madena has a very good chance of getting off with Jana's murder is stymied with him not laying low and keeping out of trouble. Madena first opens his big mouth on a tabloid TV show about his past as a macho man and woman abuser that doesn't help his case at all. Later Madena is found stoned out of his skull with his girlfriend Bridget Paul, Kimberley Kates, dead from a stab wound next to him in her home that's an exact replica of the Jana Calloway murder. All these sordid events turn out to be connected to Senator Saxon who's family and close supporters will go to any lengths to keep his presidential campaign from self-destructing with his secret relationship with Jana being exposed in Bobby Madena's trial.
Kitt who's determined to get her client Bobby Madena off, knowing that he's innocent,is now being blackmailed by a former client Laird Atkins, Craig Sheffer, an accused rapist that she got off. Atkins not only admitted that he indeed raped the person whom he was indited for and found innocent of sexually assaulting but also had a sexual affair with Kitt which, if it became public, can have her law licenses suspended. Atkins is also being used by the Saxon crowd to keep Kitt from implicating their man, Senator Paul Saxon, in Jana's murder. The truth is a lot more sinister and evil then even Kitt could have ever suspected in that it was not just the senator who were behind Jana Calloway murder it was the states top law enforcer who actually committed it!
The ending of the movie with Madena being exonerated of both Jana and Bridgets murders is a total cop-out with Kitt getting her hands on a very flimsy piece of evidence that reveals who Jana's killer, Bridget was murdered by Atkins, really is. The unbelievably conclusion of the film will satisfy those of us who like to see justice done to powerful criminals in high places but seeing it happen you just know that it's straight out of fantasy land.
then you are a fool. The only thing more burdensome than the pace of the movie was the the performances by Melanie Griffith and Tom Berenger. It was if they were acting through mud. But that is the cost, I suppose, when you must emote instead of acting, to make up for a weak story.
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