Saturday, April 20, 2019

Presumed Innocent

Movie Name: Presumed Innocent
Year of Release: 1990
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Starring: Harrison Ford, Brian Dennehy, Raul Julia, Bonnie Bedelia, Greta Scacchi, Paul Winfield, John Spencer, Joe Grifasi, Sab Shimono, Jesse Bradford, Joseph Mazzello, Bradley Whitford, Christine Estabrook
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Director Alan J. Pakula had a somewhat discrete decade in the 80s, save for his finely drawn and impeccably acted "Sophie's Choice" which came out in 1982. "Presumed Innocent" jumpstarted his career in the 90s which turned out to be filled with films with far more success and visibility. "Presumed Innocent", based on the novel by Scott Turow, follows the story of Rusty Sabich, a Chief Prosecuting Attorney, who finds himself in hot waters, when one of his colleagues is murdered. Initially in charge of the case, Rusty quickly becomes a suspect, when it comes to light that he had had an affair with the beautiful Carolyn Polhemus, something that nearly destroyed his marriage. When some evidence is discovered at Polhemus' apartment, Rusty is indicted and forced to hire a defense attorney. As the case starts being litigated, some unexpected politics surface, and Rusty seems himself in a progressively worse situation. 
"Presumed Innocent" was one of the big hits of 1990 and it's easy to understand why. It's a finely drawn thriller, with a series of unexpected situations that keep popping up and deflecting the unravel of the killer of the beautiful Carolyn Polhemus. It's a film that also perfectly captures the despair of a man targeted by a system that contains interests and agendas that go far beyond what is immediately perceived. Rusty is man engulfed in a situation that is the more dramatic, since he was still in love with the victim, and his family life, though now stable, isn't what he truly desired and longed for, something that more shocking with the twist at the end of the feature. It's a taut and well defined thriller, with an impeccable cast, including Harrison Ford in the central role, playing a more passive character unlike his previous larger than life heroes, well supported by Brian Dennehy, Raul Julia and Paul Winfield. The cinematography of the late Gordon Willis is fantastic, as is the score from John Williams. A solid and entertaining film always worth revisiting.