Movie Critique – Presumed Innocent

Stars: 5 / 5

Recommendation: Chilling crime thriller with hints of psychology of human mind and the devious direction it takes when played upon by emotions and moral values. 

Presumed Innocent is 1990 American legal drama thriller based on the 1987 novel of the same name by Scott Turow. Directed by Alan J. Pakula, it stars Harrison Ford in the role of Rozat "Rusty" Sabich" being charged with the murder of his colleague and mistress Carolyn Polhemus, portrayed by Greta Scacchi.

After reading the book, having seen the movie already, I still wanted to watch it again to find if the movie did justice to the book.

Pretty much the director kept the plot to what the book gave us. However I did notice minor differences. For instance, Rusty took a bus to his work in the book as opposed to ferry in the film. 

And that Kindle County is fictional county in Illinois, while the location the movie makers picked was Detroit. Carolyn has an ex-husband and a kid in the book while only an ex-husband in the film. 

Movie also changed the presentation of the ending. Surprisingly though the writers Alan J. Pakula and Frank Pierson carried most of the dialogues from the book into the film. 

Harrison Ford doesn’t look as charming as he was as Han Solo or Indiana Jones in this film. He looks very much a stern and honest prosecuting attorney, although he has cropped his hair military style. Despite Rusty's role having it's flaws, Ford blended well into it, including his crooked smile that only added to the mystery. 

It took me a second watch to figure out that Bonnie Bedelia, portraying the role of Barbara Sabich in this movie, is the same one who portrayed the role of Holly Gennaro McClane, wife of John McClane in Die Hard Part 1 and 2. In my mind they were two different actresses.

There were quite a few familiar actors in the film, although I only remembered Ford until I re-watched the movie again. For instance, Brian Dennehy as District Attorney Raymond Hogan and Tom Mardirosian as Nico Della Guardia, Raymond's opponent.

And this gentleman, Bradley Whitford, as Quentin "Jamie" Kemp, one of the defense attorneys on Rusty's side. I saw him in countless TV episodes of various serials that he almost became a common household name.

Yet, I could not place where I saw Greta Scacchi, the femme fatale from the movie. Try as I may I am unable to place her.

The title music that follows most part of the movie is very haunting and leaves a hiver at the back of your spine when you listen to it. It's called "Presumed Innocent" aptly named, and created by John Williams. Agreeably one of the most sinister score ever made. 

The movie felt far more chilling than the book. May be because book had lengthier descriptions of every scene and much more in-depth court scenes. In the end movie justified the book perfectly. 

If you haven't watched it yet, I would say go ahead and rent it on Amazon Prime or pick it up from your local library. It is worth a watch.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. In the end the director's don’t show what happens to Rusty and his wife Barbara after Rusty knows the truth. They leave it to the viewer's imagination.


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