High Crimes (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner28/10/2002

One out of Five stars
Running time: 115 mins

Tedious, predictable and ludicrous thriller that’s glossy, but empty – Ashley Judd should have Serious Words with her agent.

Once upon a time a new Carl Franklin film was something to look forward to. This, after all, was the man behind both One False Move and Devil In A Blue Dress, two of the best thrillers of the early 1990s.

However, in the three years between Devil In A Blue Dress and Franklin’s next film (the little-seen weepie One True Thing), something must have gone very, very wrong for Mr Franklin, because he’s now reduced to doing tedious generic thrillers such as High Crimes, which, if there was any justice at all, would have gone straight to video, Morgan Freeman or no Morgan Freeman.

War Crimes And Illegal Defences

The film stars Ashley Judd as beautiful-yet-feisty lawyer Claire Kubick. Happily shacked up with her husband Tom (Jim Caviezel), she’s understandably a little surprised when they go for a walk in San Francisco and Tom is suddenly surrounded by soldiers and arrested.

It turns out he’s wanted for supposed war crimes in El Salvador under a different identity. Naturally, Tom protests his innocence, so it’s somehow up to Claire to defend him. (Although, aren’t there, like, rules about that sort of thing?)

Nymphomaniac Inclusion Fails To Lift Film

Anyway, this being the sort of movie that it is, she’s not alone. She’s helped by rookie military lawyer Adam Scott, and embittered ex-military lawyer Morgan Freeman, who also has his own ex-alcoholic subplot to contend with. Also along for the ride is Amanda Peet, as Claire’s nymphomaniac sister, whose inclusion wrongly suggests the film is going to be better than it actually is, at least in terms of Shallow And Obvious Reasons.

It’s all depressingly predictable stuff, with the kind of ludicrous final “twist” that will have you shouting at the screen. In a bad way. Not only that, but the twist renders the entire plot of the film pointless in the extreme, since…well, to reveal why would give away too much of the film, but it’s certainly clear that Not A Lot Of Thought went into the script.

Predictable, Clumsy and Downright Laughable

Ashley Judd is as competent as ever, but she seems to have somehow escaped the clutches of the Gratuitous Nudity Clause that required her to take her clothes off in films such as Double Jeopardy. The problem is that the character is rather dull, and as a result, she’s outshone by the supporting cast, particularly Scott (who has an unusual face that somehow suggests both innocence and duplicity) and Peet (who has yet to find the perfect role, but is constantly hinting at great things to come).

Similarly, Freeman, while always watchable, seems to be coasting here, clearly all too aware that his re-teaming with Judd (they co-starred in Kiss The Girls) is a major selling point for the film. The film also suffers from the miscasting of Jim Caviezel, who’s reduced to doing his overly familiar ‘haunted eyes’ routine again.

High Crimes, as its oh-so-generic title suggests, is one of those thrillers where even thinking about it for a moment will infuriate you. It’s clumsy, predictable, ridden with clichés and downright laughable at the end. In short, it’s best avoided.

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High Crimes (12A)
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Content updated: 15/12/2017 12:11

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