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Presumed Innocent [VHS]
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Top Customer Reviews
And then there's Ford's odd possibly mentally ill wife...
Super good all the way through, and it'll keep you guessing as long as you don't read any reviews that give it away.
As typical in legal circles, a cornered defendant lawyer seeking to prove his or her innocence to a jury hires a respected adversary to defend his or her cause. After all, who has a better idea of a lawyer's worth than someone who has tangled in courtroom battle with that same individual? In this case prosecutor Ford calls on talented defense attorney Raul Julia to represent him. Ford is crushed to quickly learn after hiring Julia that Dennehy, the boss he refused to conspire against, after losing a bid for reelection reveals that he will testify against his former chief assistant.
Also coming into the fascinating mix is the neurotic wife of Ford, played by Bonnie Bedelia, who was well aware of his tryst with his fellow prosecutor. Bedelia plays a key role in the drama which is not resolved until after Ford's trial has played itself out.
Director Alan J. Pakula, the master of suspense filmmaking who previously gave us "All The President's Men" and "Klute," keeps the action moving at a quick pace. The trial scenes are particularly well done and move briskly. The adversary nature of a hard-nosed murder trial is convincingly presented.
Any illusions you may have about the integrity of the criminal justice system (in this fictional world) are swept away quickly. Sabich is coerced into heading the investigation of Polhemus' murder by his boss, prosecuting attorney Raymond Horgan (Dennehy). That is, until Horgan loses his reelection campaign and new prosecuting attorney Nico Della Guardia (Mardirosian) and his second whip Tommy Molto (Grifasi) charge him with Polhemus' murder.
One of the great aspects of this movie is that Sabich, while heading the murder investigation, seems very conflicted about his previous encounters with Polhemus, who we only see in flashback sequences during the film. We don't know if this is because of his emotional and sexual connection to Polhemus, or because he is the murderer himself. Suspicions are raised concerning Sabich's guilt throughout the first third of the movie, e.g., his obstruction of his lead investigator Detective Lipranzer (Spencer) by ignoring fingerprint evidence. This becomes ammunition against him later when he becomes the defendant.
Sabich's wife Barbara (Bedelia) throws gasoline on the fire by constantly nettling Rusty about the previous affair, and, most important, Rusty's obsession with Polhemus which even her death could not end.Read more ›
It is an incredible film that takes place in a corrupt judicial system. Harrison Ford plays a chief deputy and highly regarded prosecutor who is appointed to the homicide case of his fellow co-worker and former lover. Reluctant to agree because of remaining emotional ties and fear of hurting his wife all over again, Ford finally gives in to appease his demanding boss.
He is not on the case long before there is a turn of events, and instead of looking for a defendant, he becomes the defendant.
What makes this movie so interesting and appealing is that throughout the duration of the film, the viewer is left trying to decipher whether Ford is guilty or not. Incriminating events, such as a note from the deceased the day after the murder reading "I know it's you," are overturned with convenient coincidences, manufactured evidence, and uncovered relationships between others, leave you wondering. It is not until the very end that the surprising truth is revealed.
I was extremely impressed by this captivating film and highly recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great sleeper movie. This movie wasn't all that well known but it is a good movie.Published 10 days ago by Jonathan Jones
This was a replacement for my DVD collection. My VHS tape was showing signs of aging. But since I liked the movie on VHS, certainly I'll enjoy it on DVD.Published 22 days ago by Kenneth Myron Bonnell
Excellent courtroom drama. Great acting and surprise ending!Published 29 days ago by rita alexander
Harrison Ford as the alleged murderer plays the part perfectly. While denying his guilt the evidence seems to prove he is NOT! Read morePublished 1 month ago by jane navarre
Had not watched it in years, but it wasn't as good as I remember it.Published 2 months ago by Michael Mccormick
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