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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

83 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

High profile lawyer, Martin Hunter (Michael Douglas) has an impeccable record putting criminals behind bars and is a shoo-in for governor in the upcoming election. But when ambitious rookie journalist, C.J. Nicholas (Jesse Metcalfe) begins investigating Hunter for tampering with evidence to secure his convictions, the district attorney’s perfect record is up for scrutiny. Commencing a risky game of cat and mouse with Hunter, C.J. frames himself as a murder suspect to catch the corrupt D.A. in the act.


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An ambitious reporter takes an extraordinary risk to bring down a corrupt district attorney in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, a modern-day remake of Fritz Lang's final feature. On occasion, Shreveport newsman C.J. (Jesse Metcalfe, Desperate Housewives) receives confidential tips from assistant D.A. Ella (Amber Tamblyn, Joan of Arcadia), but Ella hesitates to go out with him due to the conflict of interest. It doesn't help that he considers her boss, gubernatorial candidate Martin Hunter (Michael Douglas, whose performance recalls Wall Street's Gordon Gekko), "too smooth," adding, "I'm not sure he's honest," but she eventually yields to C.J.'s charms (hey, it worked for Gabrielle Solis). Little does she realize that he plans to expose Hunter as a fraud--by framing himself for an unsolved murder. C.J. figures if he teams up with cameraman Finley (Joel Moore), he can't lose, but he never stops to consider the consequences if something happens to Finley or the video that proves his innocence. So, the trial proceeds, but once Hunter gets wind of the scheme, he goes after C.J. with all his might. Ella is the only one who can help him, but to do so means to put her career--maybe even her life--on the line. There's a nasty twist at the end of this entertaining, if shallow, courtroom drama, and director/cinematographer Peter Hyams, who previously worked with Douglas on The Star Chamber, sprinkles the suspense with some tension-relieving zingers from Orlando Jones as a cop who suspects something fishy is afoot. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Douglas, Jesse Metcalfe, Amber Tamblyn, Dave Jensen, John "Spud" McConnell
  • Directors: Peter Hyams
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: December 22, 2009
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002QW7AMG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,912 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Demario Moore on November 18, 2009
Format: DVD
I did not expect much from this movie. Mostly because it stars Jesse Metcalfe and Amber Tamblyn. Amber is ok but Jesse Metcalfe clearly needs some more practice. He's so emotionless. This movie would have been even better if he were replaced with a better actor. Sorry, but the guy needs work. I was definately wrong about the film though. This is actually a pretty good film. It's about this reporter that decides to frame himself for murder so he can expose the dirty D.A. played by the great Micheal Douglas. This movie has a really strong script. I don't think anyone with common sense would frame themselves for murder but this movie had me going. It also has this surprise ending that will make your jaw hit the floor. I would definately rent this one. If you can find it cheap on DVD it might even be worth buying. Decent actors,good story, and a surprise ending, you can't ask for much more than that. At least not from a straight to dvd movie. HOLLA
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By G. Edmonson on September 14, 2009
What happens when your plan to convict a guilty man backfires? In "Beyond a Reasaonable Doubt", a remake of the 1956 film noir movie of the same name, a journalist, C.J. Nicholas (Jesse Metcalfe) finds himself in this predicament. In attempting to snare the lawyer Martin Hunter (Michael Douglas) for tampering with evidence, C.J. Nicholas instead finds himself convicted of a crime he never actually committed. This interesting premise leads us into the real action of the story, as his girlfriend, Ella Crystal (Amber Tamblyn), attempts to uncover the truth, and save him from his impending death sentence. The film seems to play out predictably from here, or so we think, but then another twist leads us into an altogether new direction. Once this movie, directed by Peter Hymms, finally gets moving, it's an engaging, edge of your seat thriller.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Compay on January 21, 2010
Format: DVD
What speaks volumes about the overall quality of this movie is that it was released in only half a dozen movie theaters nationwide, and grossed less than 20k at the box office.

At best it's an average movie with no quality acting, which reflects the fact that only 5% of voters on Rotten Tomatoes actually enjoyed it. The complications that arise with our main character as the movie progresses are predictable, as is the "twist" that occurs at the film's conclusion.

The biggest mystery of this film is how they were able to land Michael Douglas on the cast. Douglas has virtually no real screen time in this movie, which is a major disappointment for those of us who enjoyed his work in movies like King of California, Wall Street and Basic Instinct. No need to wait for the jury to return to the courtoom; my verdict is that it's not worth even a Redbox rental.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By SuzieQ on December 25, 2009
Format: DVD
Amateurish B movie remake of a 1956 RKO film. Uses every cliche in the book. Awful! How did they get Michael Douglas to do this film?
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lily on January 3, 2010
Format: DVD
This is one of the most unintentionally funny and convoluted movies that I have ever seen in my life. Michael Douglas used to have an illustrious and charismatic career. He now resorts to associating and SELLING his name to a movie in which he appears for less than 15 minutes total screen time. (Sort of like the has-been Val Kilmer's appearance in recent Dead Man's Bounty where he is dead in the whole movie and is not a part of the plot in any shape and manner). Jesse Metcalf and Joel David Moore portray two reporters and are two of the worst actors in the world. Their attempt at relevance and hip is to grow two day growth beards and to act like Jimmy Olsen, cub reporter. However, Jimmy Olsen is MENSA material compared to these two very unpleasant people. I'd rather watch wood warp and paint chip than see these two again. The plot basically is about an up-and-coming district attorney on his way to governorship who is suspected, by these two rodent parasitic reporters, of planting evidence to win every case that he tries. Their idea of implicating him is for one bearded wonder to actually implicate himself in a murder crime, record a journal DVD of specific points of innocence, get busted and then see what additional evidence the DA plants. This is a very, very bad idea just in case something goes wrong. And it's a bad idea for a movie because everything goes wrong in the film. Examples of bad filmmaking include the partner cub reporter rushing to his safety deposit box to retrieve the DVD evidence of innocence and being in a high speed car chase with a stereotypical mean police officer. This scene was obviously put in just to hasten the action, in an otherwise boring story.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tsuyoshi on January 3, 2011
Format: DVD
An ambitious local TV reporter C.J. Nicholas (Jesse Metcalfe) needs a big story to boost his career. And he believes - we don't know why - that high profile District Attorney Mark Hunter (Michael Douglas) is planting false evidence to maintain a high conviction rate. So, in order to expose and publicly humiliate the DA, C.J. devises a contrived plan to set a trap for Hunter by making himself look like a prime murder suspect!

Well, things terribly wrong for C.J., as you expect. This is so terribly wrong that you may start scratching your head wondering why characters including the DA's assistant Ella (Amber Tamblyn) keep doing silly things throughout the film.

The whole premise could be pretty unbelievable back in 1956, when the original "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" (directed by Fritz Lang) was made. In 2010, when most people in America have an easy access to the internet and digital technologies, the story looks simply absurd. In short a reporter doesn't need this elaborate scheme. Of course, everything will be explained in the end, but by the time that happens, most viewers would stop taking the impossible story seriously.

OK, I know this idea, "willing suspension of disbelief," and we often need it to enjoy some classic films. But for the storyline this incredible to really work, we need something - like more round and believable characters, atmospheric cinematography, and most of all, actors and actresses as charismatic and skillful as, say, Humphrey Bogart or Barbara Stanwyck.

Finally, I have been a fan of director Peter Hyams - I still like many of his film in the past, "Capricorn One" and "Narrow Margin" for instance. They may not be winning Academy awards, but surely thrilling and entertaining, but whatever happened to him?
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