Sunday, March 4, 2007

Under Suspicion

I'm going to keep this post relatively short because I know that none of you have ever seen this film. What a great movie. Next time you're at Blockbuster for an hour and a half searching aimlessly for something decent to watch, give Under Suspicion a try. This amazingly acted drama has some fantastic scenes in it and the chemistry among the cast is nearly palpable.

Stephen Hopkins (The Ghost and the Darkness, Predator 2) directs a star-studded cast of Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane (The Punisher), and Monica Bellucci (The Matrix sequels) in this indie drama. Surprisingly, he succeeds in bringing the story to life. You can tell that this is a project that the actors involved have great respect for: it doesn't have a large budget, the story is very centralized around four major characters, and it takes place in about a four hour period. It's almost got a stage-play feel to it; and it works. With actors as awesome as Hackman and Freeman, you can pretty much just sit back and let them do their thing. Morgan Freeman (how old is this guy nowadays?) plays a detective trying to solve the rape and murder cases of two 12-year-old girls in Puerto Rico. The outstandingly ominous Gene Hackman is the high-ranking partner of a law firm questioned about the crime. Tom Jane's character, the wild card young detective, could have used a little more depth to him, but Jane pulled it off well for what he was given. Bellucci, as in most of her roles, does nothing more than breathe sexily through her lines and look hot - not surprisingly, she does this well.

There's one particular aspect of this film that I liked a lot, and it made it stand out from all the other films of this type that I've seen before. When Freeman is questioning Hackman about his whereabouts the nights of the murders, the movie switches to flashback format. What's cool about these scenes is that Morgan Freeman's detective character appears in the flashback with the people who were actually there - he's observing the situation as it was told by the person being interrogated. This is reminiscent of scenes in Boondock Saints in which Willem Dafoe's cop character attempts to piece together what happened at a crime scene from just the evidence left behind. His character also places himself in the scene as it happens. Cool stuff.

Although this was based on a French film (and we all know that French people suck), Under Suspicion is a good story with an excellent cast and a mediocre director. With these powers combined, it turns out to be a great film that explores the depth of relationships and personal secrets no one wants uncovered. Until next time...

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