Director: Courtney Hunt
Writer: Nicholas Kazan (as Rafael Jackson)
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Renée Zellweger, Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Plot: A defense attorney works to get his teenage client acquitted of murdering his wealthy father.
Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes
IMDB Score: 6.1
Why I watched it: The cast, the trailer played like an 80′s thriller so there was that and I won’t lie the running time of 1 hour 33 minutes helped me watch it, I like shorter movies.
Random thoughts: You never know with Keanu Reeves, he’s been in some great genre films and others well not so much and he as an actor is very hit and miss his’ laid back approach sometimes really pays off and others he seems really miscast. This film also kind of reminded me of Presumed Innocent for some reason.
What I liked: This plays more like a film noir than a courtroom thriller, now with that being said a lot of this movie plays out in court so yes it’s very much a courtroom thriller but you throw in the dead husband who was wealthy and her son saying he did it but not speaking to anyone even his lawyer who also happens to be a family friend then this also qualifies as a film noir at least a little.
The film is pretty tight, not a lot of characters and really it turns into a mystery of who is the killer and of course why they did it. The acting is pretty good across the board, Belushi is seen in flashbacks and is pretty slimy one of those rich guys everyone secreted hated. Zellweger has a tricky role, she’s a grieving wife, a worried mother a possible liar. She’s pretty good here I think she’s a tad miscast but she does her best. Reeves is pretty much like he always is likable but a bit wooded. His character is kind of stuck with a client who won’t work with him and always the fact that he use to work with the victim and were friends.
There’s one thing in the film they do that I really like, the film uses flashbacks but during testimony as the witness is answering questions we see what actually happened, so we get their version of the truth with the whole truth is you will. The courtroom stuff is handled pretty well I think the film knows we’ve seen this kind of stuff a million times so they keep it quick and they keep things going towards the mystery of who did it.
My favorite part of the film is the ending and yes it’s a twist and it’s a good one, actually i didn’t see it, I went in a different direction, it’s a good twist and it works, This isn’t a case of a screenwriter throwing in a twist to save a bad movie this makes the film more complex and better.
What I didn’t like: Th cast was fine but I do thing that the two leads played by Reeves and Zellweger could have benefited by different actors, a more femme fatalish actress and a more gruff and haggard actor, I see a younger Nick Nolte here. There’s a sub-plot with a lawyer helping Reeves’ character and they give her backstory and she’s fine but she and her backstory play no part in the film, she’s more of a red herring.
Final verdict: I liked it for the most part a solid mystery and like I said I liked the twist, it’s always nice when a film surprises you.