A lawyer is asked to come to the police station to clear up a few loose ends in his witness report of a foul murder. This will only take ten minutes, they say, but it turns out to be one ...
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A lawyer is asked to come to the police station to clear up a few loose ends in his witness report of a foul murder. This will only take ten minutes, they say, but it turns out to be one loose end after another, and the ten minutes he is away from his speech become longer and longer...Written by
Maarten Hofman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Like SE7EN there is weird (albeit appropriate) music. Like SE7EN there is a jumpy, ADD-inflected title sequence. Like SE7EN this film is dark and dreary, a vision of an ill-lit and illicit milieu, raising far more questions than it answers. And Morgan Freeman is playing yet another world-weary detective, swamped by serial killings. There is even a young, hot-headed cop involved, although Thomas Jane (Detective Owens) is certainly no Brad Pitt. He was so grating in his part that I kept wishing he would get off the screen so the two leads could get at it.
And so they do. If in their last appearance together in UNFORGIVEN Hackman's character was tormenting Freeman's, then it is somehow fitting that here it is the latter's Capt. Victor Benezet who interrogates, berates, persecutes and ultimately breaks down the resistance of Hackman's Henry Hearst, an attorney who verily has a fool for a client. Capt. Benezet may position himself as the 'good' cop in the 'good cop/bad cop' scenarios he sets up with Detective Owens, and later, Detective Castillo (Pablo Cunqueiro); but he is ever questioning, ever probing, ever seeking in his interrogations the heart of this dark matter. He is even insinuated into his witnesses' recollections, through a cool cinematographic trick appearing and asking questions in situ in the midst of the film's flashbacks.
In spite of interruptions from underlings, superiors, and ultimately Hearst's spouse Chantal (Monica Bellucci in a tight, controlled performance) , over the course of the film one by one the lies and half-truths are stripped away, leaving Hearst with only his moral turpitude and his pitifully sparse self-justifications intact. It is only another interruption from one of Benezet's people that jerks us away from the sleazy, soul-shorn sight. Yet the revelation that follows twists and tears, sending our belief in this story and its implications into a dizzying, perhaps fatal spin.
In the ending sequence Chantal and Henry Hearst walk towards each other, but somehow do not connect. They end up sitting apart. In a way that relates to the way UNDER SUSPICION acts upon its viewers. Sorry, no neat, happy ending here. Not even a coherent one.
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