Life in the Balance (2001) Poster

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OK Movie With Some Retread Actors
sddavis6318 November 2002
I haven't seen or heard much about Bo Derek lately, so when I noticed this movie I thought I'd tune in to see how she was doing. In "Life In The Balance" she plays a superstar lawyer turned alcoholic and drug addict, who gets one last chance to prove herself by being given a case in which she tries to save a man on death row (Bruce Boxleitner, who also hasn't popped up much recently as far as I know) after being convicted of murdering his family.

Derek and Boxleitner are OK together, and the movie - if not spectacular - is a reasonably engrossing apparently low-budget "whodunit" that is short (about an hour and a half) and to the point. I'm not quite sure why Katherine Garr (Derek) is (or at least was) such a hot shot lawyer. There are a lot of inconsistencies in the story from Eric (Boxleitner) that made me (a non-lawyer) suspicious of him from the start, and the twist at the end is certainly not an unpredictable one, but overall this isn't a bad movie. Neither Derek nor Boxleitner are going to win any awards for it, but it won't end their careers, either.

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Court-based intense drama, turning into a thriller
tatiana_trifonova25 July 2006
I wasn't impressed with the opening; however, making the convicted murderer of his own family free again was an interesting challenge to watch. The attorney, who also had a few personal problems, is played by Bo Derek, I think she played reasonably well, and so did "the murderer".

It was a merely amusing film up to the point where new evidence comes to light, which changes the situation completely and turns this film into a thriller. I wasn't expecting this plot turn at all and was shivering till the end of the film. Watching this 2 hour film paid off - these last 30 minutes was a great watch (not that the beginning was utterly boring).

I'd watch the film again, looking for clues hinting at that turning plot in the film. 7 out of 10 rating.
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The case of the "Switch Hitter"
sol20 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
**Spoilers** The beautiful Bo Derek still a knockout at age 45 plays the barley sober and pill popping defense attorney Kathryn Garr who's life is a complete mess when we first get to see her in the movie. It's when Kathryn gets the case of a lifetime that of convicted mass murderer Eric Johnson, Bruce Boxietner, who's now facing the electric chair that her life and down in the dumps judicial career makes a sudden upturn. Not because of Kathryn's getting Johnson off, in a successful appeal, but finding out just what he had to do or not to do with his wife's and two children's brutal satanic-like blood ritual murder! The fact that there was no blood at the murder scene made it certain that this killing was unlike any other killings that the local police as well as attorney Garr ever investigated!

It was in fact Kathryn's good friend pathologist and and blood splatter expert Randall Innis, Tim Post, who soon realized just who murdered Johnson's wife and children that in the end had him murdered, by the Johnson family murderer, himself! Meanwhile getting her head back together, by stopping her both drinking and popping pills, Kathryn started to put all the loose ends together in who's behind not only the Johnson family killings but the disappearance of Margaret Brinkly, Kathreen Hamel. Margaret was last seen with Eric Johnson at a book convention four years ago when she just dropped out of sight!

***SPOILER*** It's in fact Margaret's disappearance or possibly murder that somehow links her with the Johnson family murders! But how and why is for Kathryn to find out unless the their murderer finds her fist. And with him so close to Kathryn in every move that she makes that's not that very hard for him to do.

Even though the film hinted and kept on hinting to a dark and satanic connection to the Johnson family murders it seemed to have dropped it and just settled for the usual man going insane and striking out that world like killings that were so used to seeing in the movies. You would have thought with all the evidence pointing to something far more dark and sinister then just your average garden verity type mass murder for the film to change horses, or directions, in mid stream hurt more then helped its by then very confusing storyline.
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Pretty good
vchimpanzee1 August 2006
Kathryn Garr has had a successful career, including making partner at her law firm. But that won't help her now. She doesn't seem to know what she is doing, she has a drinking problem, and her marriage to Jason is in trouble.

But Kathryn has one chance to redeem herself. Eric Johnson is on Pennsylvania's death row for killing his family, and many believe he is innocent. Some believe evidence was withheld in his trial. Kathryn doesn't have a lot of enthusiasm, and she doesn't share the faith in Eric that others do. She seems more like a prosecutor than a defense lawyer, because she doesn't seem to remember "innocent until proved guilty".

Eric doesn't seem to have much of a chance, but Kathryn finally makes a real effort, and she does find more evidence, with the help of a colorful Southern detective. We go through some twists and turns to get to the end, but there's nothing that special here.

Bo Derek and Bruce Boxleitner both have their good moments here. Kathryn's boss won't do anything to shake the perception that lawyers are sleazy.

It was an okay movie, about the same quality as a TV-movie.
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Not bad but not good
rps-29 July 2002
As a true Canadian, I always avoid Canadian movies. However now and then I get trapped into watching one. This one is better than most, which is to say mediocre. It has many of the usual flaws of Canadian films...self-conscious excess of cinematic gimmicks and, above all, the self-effacing Canadian habit of using Canadian cities as stand-ins for American ones. I mean using the historic metropolis of Montreal as a stand in for Harrisburg Pennsylvania is just short of obscene. I was in a generous mood. I gave it a 4.
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I love Bo Derek at any age
Nina256018 September 2004
This is a great film. In regards to a "mature" Bo Derek-------she is smashing. Of course she isn't that "youth" in 10, but she has matured into a very classy woman with a more mature look about her. I still like her acting, I love her voice and I love her overall presence. I still think Bo is a very good actress. About this film, its a good film. It is very "law and order", but its still very interesting. You never know whats gonna happen next. I like it. The character she plays starts off as a pill popping, boozin' type, but transforms as she becomes more passionate about her cause. She plays an attorney trying to free a man that is believed to be innocent of the crime of murder.

Bo may have grown up-------but she is still BO and still a class act in my opinion.
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