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Deliberate Intent

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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(Apr 09, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A grisly triple homicide rocks Maryland. An amateur, as it turns out, masterfu lly executed the crime. His number one accomplice-"Hit Man," a learner's guide to murder, in twenty-two easy to follow steps. Convinced that the book incited its reader to kill, attorney for the family of the deceased, Howard Siegel, unites with law scholar, Rod Smoll a, to bring the publisher of the work to justice. Based on a true story, Timothy Hutton a nd Ron Rifkin star in this thriller that dares to blow the lid off the First Amendment's p rotection of murder in the first degree!

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Timothy Hutton, Ron Rifkin, Clark Johnson, Penny Johnson Jerald, Cliff De Young
  • Directors: Andy Wolk
  • Writers: Andy Wolk, Lisa Mohan
  • Producers: Howard Braunstein, Michael Jaffe, Randi Richmond
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Mti Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 9, 2002
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000062XFC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,162 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Deliberate Intent" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 9, 2005
Format: DVD
"Deliberate Intent" is a fascinating film based on the book by First Amendment scholar and law professor Ron Smolla, detailing the 1997 Paladin Enterprises, Inc. vs. Rice case. It concerns "Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors," a book that gave step by step instructions on how to murder, and the killing of 3 people in 1993 by someone who followed those instructions. It is one of the most intellectually challenging films I have seen in a long time, and is brilliantly constructed and acted to present both sides of the argument.

There was an unusual agreement between the author and the publisher. The author, who usually assumes liability for their work, was not only free of liability but also had their identity protected. This stemmed from the publisher wanting "Hit Man," which was originally conceived as a novel, to be written as a "users manual". The two sides of this case, whether this went beyond the rights of free speech, or was protected by the First Amendment, and how Smolla's mind was changed from one view to another, is the central focus of the film. It also details the murder of the 3 people, and how "Hit Man" played a part in it. Some people think the case "murdered the First Amendment" along with the victims, others think it went way beyond its boundaries.

The performances are low-key and superb. Timothy Hutton gives another solid performance as Smolla. Hutton is a vastly underrated actor that excels in portraying characters that are more mental than flamboyant, and the part of Smolla fits him like a velvet glove. Ron Rifkin is marvelous as Howard Siegel, the attorney who pesters Smolla into taking the case. Clark Johnson, who was Dt.
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a brillant movie.also a very well executed murder done by a ameture fuelled by a step by step guid to kill in cold blood.with info on everything to wear,plus info on weapons to use.he grabs his book and goes out to comit cold blood murder in execution style. a well done true story that is well acted out.plus if u like court room battles this one is for you!
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a great movie
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The film "Deliberate Intent," about the court case surrounding the book "Hit Man," was just ok thanks to poor framing of the issue and hammy moments untrue to the law itself. The case involved a family suing the publisher of the book after a man used it as a guide in a kill for hire scheme paid for by the family's ex-husband. The case was potentially explosive in that it challenged the First Amendment's sanctity and could have destabilized the entire fabric of our lives in the America. Unfortunately, in the film this highly controversial freedom of speech court case became far too cut and dry with the publisher branded "evil" and money hungry, and the family that sued him the perfectly justified victims.

For example, in a freakishly bad bit of lawyer murkiness, Hutton's law professor speaks to the publisher he's suing when they are alone in an elevator together and his lawyer is not present! Asking him (in ham fashion) "How do you sleep at night?" Oh! The evil publisher replies that he has no problems sleeping at all! Even without a law degree this seems both ethically dubious and cheesy. Another problem is the family is never challenged about what their anger over the loss of family members (expressed via court case) could do for people in America for every generation to come who will have lost a crucial right! Ruin the country for a few million dollars? Sure, why not.

The fact is that first amendment right to free speech - as long as you're not shouting fire in a crowded theatre or inciting riot on a street corner - is sacrosanct because it governs so much of our daily conduct, and this case was an extremely dangerous threat to that right.

In the film's framing of this issue, Hutton's lawyer was arguing that a book detailing behavior in a "how to...
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