Saturday, November 28, 2009

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

On Trial

I had thought RKO Pictures was already defunct, but it's quite telling that a film from its archives got pulled out for a remake, and although I've not seen the original film in the 50s directed by Fritz Lang no less, this remake had that similar promising premise which soon gave way to ridicule. Suffice to say that without the twist element, it's no better than a standard, average courtroom drama cum investigative thriller that already laid out its cards and was just going through its motion to the finale. Assault on the justice system this is not to be.

Since Michael Douglas' name got a bigger font size on the poster, let's start with his character, the District Attorney Mark Hunter who is one case away from sealing his man made destiny to become governor. He's quite the confident schmuck who can mesmerize any jury and his straight convictions of the accused through circumstantial and DNA evidence, raises the suspicion of investigative journalist C.J. Nicholas (Jesse Metcalfe of Desperate Housewives fame), whose research seem to point to Hunter artificially engineering evidence in his favour.

An audacious plan gets concocted, and for the sake of a Pulitzer prize, C.J. and career pal Corey (Joel Moore) decide to entrap Hunter into using his deceiving tactics against them in a real murder which they will engineer the circumstantial evidence to point towards C.J., though I wonder if the quest to become famous and climb that corporate ladder would warrant something as risky as this, and what more, the lack of purposeful planning, which allows you the audience to stay one step ahead into just what would happen next.

The second half of the movie then shifts its attention to Amber Tamblyn's Ella, while being the assistant to Mark Hunter, gets romantically involved with C.J. and decides to do a little probing herself, which of course led to her being a target. The rest I'm sure you can pretty much guess for yourself, as this just floats like a buoy in calm waters, not being the investigative thriller it can be, but something that's really, really bland and stands out like an amateur hack job.

Give it a go if you must, but don't expect anything spectacular. The obligatory action sequences all seemed too contrived, boring and pretty much illogical, such as the taunting of someone using a car. I have to admit though that the final words uttered here was quite a ballsy way to end a story, although it can also mean the same words directed at the unsuspecting audience member who didn't come expecting B-movie through and through.

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