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Caught up in this courtroom scene is Dennis Quaid, portraying a member of the jury that is unable to keep himself from being drawn to Cher. The judge in the trial also appears to have an overly sense of apprehension in the trial, and seems bent on preventing justice from being served properly. This movie does launch the viewer from one tense situation to another, and the climatic chase scene in the darkened courthouse does keep you guessing.
Cher stars as a lawyer, badly in need of a vacation, who gets appointed a murder case in which a deaf and mute suspect (Played by the ever-ready Liam Neeson) seems to have perpetrated the crime. As she delves into the case, and into to case precedent, she begins to unravel a mystery that goes much higher than a homeless deaf mute.
A fresh faced Dennis Quaid is a juror who is intrigued by puzzle pieces that don't seem to fit and begins his own look at the case, culminating in a heart pounding climax that'll leave you panting and wishing there was another hour to go! Definitely worth a look - even with Cher, whom I had dismissed as a one hit movie wonder. She actually pulls this movie off.
And watch for Frasiers dad, John Mahoney, as a judge here - don't worry, you won't miss him.
Give it a look!!
The aspect that makes this movie a gem is the fine acting: Cher as the overworked and underpaid public defender, Liam Neeson as the deaf/mute defendant in one of his first major roles, Dennis Quaid as a sexy lobbyist (often messing around with congresswomen to get votes for his industry) turned juror turned amateur sleuth, and John Mahoney as the stoic judge at the trial. A lot of it is pure fantasy but the moments in the courtroom are actually very much like a real courtroom in its obsessiveness with procedure and protocol.
The story begins with the suicide of a prominent Supreme Court Justice and the subsequent murder of his assistant who has been slashed to death. When police investigate the surrounding area, they find a homeless man sporting a knife and in possession of the victim's wallet which contained a king's ransom: $9. Cher is appointed to take the case, and Quaid ends up becoming one of the jurors. Because of the suicide at the beginning of the film, Judge Helms (Mahoney) becomes one of the people on the US President's short list to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Helms requests to preside over the murder case to free up his later schedule in order that he be considered for the vacancy.
Several scenes take us into the bowels of the homeless of Washington DC. We see a lot of lawyers, a lot of law libraries and a lot of knives. Every homeless person appears to wield a knife. Cher with the unlawful help of Quaid (lawyers and jurors in the same trial are not supposed to commiserate, let alone team up) stumbles upon some evidence that makes the case much more complex. A thoroughly enjoyable courtroom drama with enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat, and an interesting commentary on the justice system and how it handles the poor and the homeless. Unfortunately, public defenders are probably not as successful as Cher appears to be.
Shortly after a Supreme Court Justice commits suicide and a clerk/typist who'd also worked in the Justice Department is found brutally murdered, a homeless man called Carl Wayne Anderson (Liam Neeson) is found with some of the victim's possessions on him and is immediately arrested and accused of her murder.
Burned out public defender Kathleen Riley (Cher) is assigned to the case and soon discovers that her client is uncooperative and prone to having violent outbursts. Communication with him improves gradually when she discovers that he's actually a deaf-mute but even then, she finds it almost impossible to find any significant information or evidence that could be helpful for his defence. To make matters worse, the trial judge Matthew Helms (John Mahoney) is unsympathetic to the problems she's experiencing and also seems more preoccupied with other matters as he's said to be the President's nominee for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Eddie Sanger (Dennis Quaid) is a jury member whose interest in the case leads him to carry out his own investigations. He wants to assist Riley by passing information on to her but any such collusion is strictly forbidden and punishable by disbarment. The couple do, however, work together and find some pieces of evidence which reveal that the murder victim had discovered evidence of a high level conspiracy to fix a politically important court case in which the Supreme Court Justice had been involved some years earlier. Ultimately this information provides an explanation for the suicide and the murder and also leads to the discovery of the identity of the real murderer.
Cher and Dennis Quaid both give good individual performances but are even better when working together. The differences between their personalities lead to some entertaining exchanges and the high stakes involved also create a certain amount of additional tension.
Riley is overworked, lonely and in desperate need of a holiday. She's struggling to cope against what seem like insuperable odds and doesn't feel resilient enough to take risks that could lead to her being disbarred. Sanger, on the other hand, is a Capitol Hill lobbyist who's used to pursuing his goals in a ruthless manner and has no inhibitions about cutting corners or acting outside the rules if such actions are likely to produce the desired results.
"Suspect" has a good plot with many moments of real suspense and the solid performances provided by Cher and Dennis Quaid are also complemented by those of John Mahoney, Liam Neeson and Joe Mantegna.
When a judge commits suicide and his secretary is found murdered in a river, a homeless and deaf-mute man, named Carl Anderson, is arrested for her murder, because all indirect evidence points to him. Because he can't afford a lawyer, public defender Kathleen Riley is assigned by the court as his lawyer. Even though she doesn't always believes in his innocence, she still goes after the real killer. She gets help from the congressional adviser Eddie Sanger, who is called to be on the jury panel and together they find some important evidence that the murder has something to do with corruption in some high ranks...
I must admit that Cher has done a better job than I ever expected from her. She actually was very convincing and interesting to watch as the public defender. Together with Liam Neeson she makes this movie work. Their nice performances and their difficult professional relationship in this movie are actually the best thing this movie has to offer. The story on itself certainly isn't that bad, but the plot is a bit far-fetched and gives this movie an ending that is a bit too abrupt.
In the end this is a reasonably well-done courtroom drama / thriller that lacks the required tension to be fully satisfying, but which offers some nice acting and some good direction. It's not the best movie in the genre, but it is enjoyable enough to be worth a watch. I give it a 6.5/10.
Cher proves she can ACT.
You probably will not immediately recognize Liam Neeson in the role of the deaf, mute, shell-shocked Carl Wayne Anderson.
For someone that does not speak for the entire film he turns in a stellar performance.
Dennis Quaid is very good as the juror that steps outside his assigned duties as a juror and becomes a detective.
Also John Mahoney is almost unrecognizable as Judge Matthew Helms -- a polar opposite from his "Frasier" character.
When I spoke to Tom Barbour (Justice Lowell in this film, stage actor and the father of Dudley Moore in the "Arthur" movies) he said when he got the script he was thrilled -- the film opens with him, it took place in his office, he had every other line, and then on page three -- well I guess you will just have to see it.
Surprise ending goes right up to the last couple of minutes -- prepare to be shocked.
I thought I might nod off, but instead I found myself engrossed in it very soon. It has some far-fetched aspects, and as the "goofs" section in this site points out, it wouldn't have been tried in a federal court, but in the local D.C. courts. However, given the rather surprise ending, this would be a necessary variation, given its circumstances.
Cher is not a person whom you reference when thinking of leading, versatile actresses -- but this isn't so. This serious role, as well as a different type in the excellent "Moonstruck," display both her competence and versatility. Dennis Quaid is always excellent, and a favorite of mine, and the remaining cast were as well. John Mahoney's performance is well-delivered, and an interesting performance, in contrast with his more pleasant persona in "Moonstruck," also -- and particularly juxtaposed with his likable presence in the long-running "Frasier" series.
As another pointed-out, there is a surprise ending, if somewhat more abrupt than seems necessary.
But overall, an interesting, entertaining film.
Any one even remotely conversant with the law will find the story so full of loopholes that it is more than a little ridiculous, but it scarcely matters: the cast carries it off in fine style, playing the script with exceptional precision and poise and generating plenty of suspense along the way. Cher is particularly noteworthy as the public defender assigned to the case.
Cher? Playing a Washington D.C. attorney? It's hardly typecasting, but once more Cher demonstrates the depth of her talent: not only is she extremely effective, she is completely believable. The same might be said for both Liam Neeson, who plays the deaf-mute on trial, and Dennis Quaid, who plays the smarmy juror who begins to put two and two together; SUSPECT is clearly Cher's picture, but her co-stars are every bit as good as she.
Although it has its share of courtroom pyrotechnics and suspenseful moments, SUSPECT is a surprisingly low-key and all the more successful for it. When all is said and done we like the characters as people, believe in them, and are glad we met them. While it will never compete with the likes of Hitchcock, SUSPECT is a good, solid, and very unpretentious courtroom thriller executed with a great deal of style. Those whose tastes run in that direction will be very pleased indeed. Recommended.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
But everything vanishes when it comes to depict the Cher/Liam Neeson relationship.Both shine ,especially the latter,who ,being deaf and dumb ,has to express his emotions with his face .He is so good he seems to carry the weight of the world .He was once a man who had something in his life ,but he was betrayed by his country when he returned from Vietnam.How a man who gave the best years of his life (to mention a famous movie)can be treated like a dog ("nine dollars ,it's much when you've got to survive" says his idealistic lawyer)and end up one of the last lonely and wretched?Every scene where they are together rings true.And "suspect" becomes the story of a redemption:physically,morally and intellectually,the homeless man regains his dignity his pride and the right to be a citizen again.
There is a complex plot ,dealing with politics ,but it's the luminous Cher and the very moving Neeson,desperately trying to communicate, who will haunt the viewer after the movie.
The movie settles down for a while into a pretty standard courtroom drama, and Cher (and Joe Mantegna as the prosecutor) are quite credible in their courtroom activity. Another twist is added to the story by Kathleen's growing involvement with juror Eddie (Dennis Quaid) - a congressional lobbyist who gets involved surreptitiously in helping to build the case for the defense. Quaid was also very good in his part, as was John Mahoney as the presiding judge. There really were no weaknesses in among the cast. I have to give real credit to Neeson. As Carl he did a magnificent job, especially given that he was playing a character who was both deaf and mute. His entire performance had to be conducted without voice, and he was very convincing. The whole thing builds up to a surprising courtroom twist that would have done Perry Mason proud, and that I didn't see coming at all.
My basic criticism of the movie is that it tries perhaps too hard to keep the viewer off balance. So many layers are added on that there is a temptation every now and then to drift away, because it's hard to keep everything straight. But in the end, when all the pieces are put together and that dramatic twist comes, you're glad you stuck with this. (7/10)
LIAM NEESON is the wrongly accused and he's excellent in a role that has him as a homeless deaf mute accused of murdering a girl for a mere pittance. Cher is the lawyer assigned to defend him. She does so with sincerity and warmth but the plot line which has her discovering the truth is too far-fetched to be believable.
Nevertheless, the tale is constructed in a way that will have you absorbed until the courtroom ending. Good performances by JOE MANTEGNA and JOHN MAHONEY help sustain some credibility. There's a well done chase scene toward the end with the killer revealed only in shadow or shown only from shoes to knees, so that the final revelation of the killer in the courtroom does come as a surprise.
Watchable but easily forgettable, with a not too convincing relationship established between CHER and DENNIS QUAID.
Anyway, Liam Neeson is a great actor and is very definitely under-rated. He's also extremely appealing to a lot of women, me included. I recommend "Rob Roy" (another movie no one seems to have seen, with Tim Roth as one of the best villains in any movie, ever) and of course "Michael Collins". Not to mention "Schindler's List". It's very strange that Liam Neeson hasn't yet won an Oscar. I haven't seen Kinsey yet.
The first scene with The Justice giving a "clerk-typist" an envelope with "hope it's sufficient - use it well" should tell you right now there's some hanky-panky going-on. Perhaps we tend to believe that justices in The Supreme Court are angels, and have no human frailties? Hey - they're APPOINTED by presidents, not elected. You think president's don't have agendas ? Wow! how naive you are ! Because the locale is D C, the incentive for ambition should always be suspect - politicians don't REALLY get there by kissing babies.
Since "Suspect" has been released, we've had several good movies that depict just how our justice-system often works. With professional "juror-pickers" knowing every time you break wind, it's a toss-up whether the jury-system or a panel of judges should try EVERY case - BUT, both groups are homo-sapiens....lots of room for vulnerability and plain-ole stupidness and discrimination in there. The best way to remain "unjudged" is to be good and not get caught in situations you have to be......
Dennis Quaid was great - I'm not familiar with Paul Mahoney, but his role was well-played. Also didn't know who Liam Neeson was at that time, but sure thought he did his role VERY well. The ending scene was surprising to me, because I suspected that OTHER justice-dept guy......
I get my VHSs and DVDs from eBay - why pay $10.00 for a one-time shot in the theater, when the same amount lets you watch whenever you want - even if it isn't so often, and only for a change of pace? I'm one of those guys who can enjoy a movie if you give me a running description of the movie while watching it - but, I also like watching alone at home.....the restroom is a LOT closer !!! Lighten-up, Guys - this is a movie to be enjoyed without having to wrack your brains to figure-out. Gets a 9 from me -
Cher wore black leather in court as a defense attorney? The suspect is deaf and dumb, but Cher talks to him constantly? The suspect overpowers several policeman before he is subdued. But then Cher goes into his cell alone to talk to him? The suspect hits her, but then she continues being around him? What a wreck of a movie.
At various points the dialogue was so bad it must have been written by a graduate of a junior high school creative writing class.
In the middle of jury selection Cher has a lengthy tete a tete with prospective juror Quaid?
In cross examinations the lawyers don't ask questions but speak in declarative sentences constantly?
How can you take a movie seriously with so many preposterous moments in it?