When Annie Laird is selected as a juror in a big Mafia trial, she is forced by someone known as "The Teacher" to persuade the other jurors to vote "not guilty". He threatens to kill her son if she doesn't commit. When the trial is over, he can't let her go...Written by
Thomas Meyer <email@example.com>
Gary R. Wordham was the name of the actor that is credited as the flirting intern at the hospital. This was also the name that was used on the passport Alec Baldwin's character used when he flew to Guatemala. See more »
After they drive 'Rodney' off the cliff, Annie goes over to the edge to look down. You can see two cars down below in the distance and a person is standing next to the cars and would most certainly have heard the crash. See more »
Hey Joseph... look at your old man.
[Joseph sees Louie being blown up by a concealed bomb]
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Alec Baldwin comes on quoting from the Tao Te Ching, making me think he's my kind of anti hero. He's urban, sophisticated and seemingly very safe since he's an art curator, or seems to be. Demi Moore as Annie Laird, a gifted and original sculptor (she sculpts works of art that you feel with your hands by reaching up into them: it's all tactile), is thrilled when he offers to buy her work and sell it to the Japanese. Wow. She has arrived as an artist.
Thus we have an intriguing and original premise for a thriller. One almost wishes that there weren't this little matter of her agreeing to serve on the jury in the case of a Mafia boss on trial for murder..
I will gloss over the excellent, if unlikely, plot since it would be preemptive to reveal any of it, and concentrate on Demi Moore who is gorgeous, strange and riveting.
It might seem impossible to give an 'heroic' performance in a thriller, since the point of a thriller is pure entertainment, but this movie manages to look into the nature of good and evil a bit more than most, and Moore plays her part like our dream of a true heroine. Her character has strength and cunning; she's sharp without pretension. I always thought Moore was better than her reputation, but somehow she always seemed a little on the not entirely bright side, the kind of actress who would never presume to play Shakespeare. But now I think she's a 'natural,' like a gifted athlete-I'd almost say an 'animal'-as an actress, which is probably why some people don't like her. She can project the beautiful woman, an ordinary woman, or herself as a matronly woman with just a turn of her head. She can display a wide range of emotions and be, by turns, both a masculine and a feminine entity; but she is not androgynous. The role she plays here is, in a sense, the feminine counterpart of many Harrison Ford roles, the ordinary person elevated to heroic action by compelling circumstances. I would not say that Demi Moore is a great actress, but she is close, and I could be wrong.
Alec Baldwin combines megalomania with a seductive cynicism. He fills the screen with his presence like something you can't get rid of. He is so compelling you want to push him away or just give up. And he is charming-evil, but charming.
Brian Gibson's direction is unobtrusive and clever, and he pays attention to detail. The script is relatively free of the implausibilities that usually mar the genre, and the editing is crisp without jarring. The story practically transcends the genre by making us feel the evil of violent crime and how it perverts society, the sort of revelation not usually attempted in a thriller. I was especially delighted to see the Mafia demeaned and defeated, even if it's only by a new breed of international criminal. This is a superior thriller.
(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
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