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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

94 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.

Stills from Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (Click for larger image)

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

Special Features


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: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002QW7AMG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,195 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 51 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 34 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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Format: DVD
There are few things that are so chilling in film as to watch a movie that is so completely lost in plotting that there can be no redemption. Almost every film has some bright spot, some point of interest. Unfortunately, the greatest honor I can bestow upon "Beyond A Reasonable Doubt" is that it is, without equal, perhaps the silliest movie I've watched in the last year. Peter Hyams, the director, is a workmanlike pro that's been around forever. More commercial than artistic, Hyams' spotty resume includes (of all things) Van Damme's best picture ("Timecop"), one of Schwarzenegger's worst ("End of Days") and one of my favorite good/bad movies "Capricorn One" (which despite some clunky acting, I could still watch endlessly). Reuniting his "The Star Chamber" lead, Michael Douglas, for this legal thriller probably seemed like a decent idea--but, oh, this one is painful.

When an ambitious reporter (Jesse Metcalf) discovers some irregularities in the many convictions of a high-power lawyer and gubernatorial candidate (Douglas)--he sees breaking a big scandal as a ticket to the big time. Concocting the most elaborately inane scheme ever to frame himself for murder, Metcalf is preposterously out of his depth. Even our greatest actor alive couldn't sell this ridiculous piece of nonsense and, needless to say, Metcalf isn't any more up to the task. This, however, being a tricky legal thriller--there are plenty of very obvious (I mean surprising, yes that's what I meant) revelations in store for the viewers. However, even knowing every twist well in advance STILL doesn't make the plot any more feasible.

Hyams and team are perhaps hoping we've never seen a real legal thriller.
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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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