UNDER SUSPICION (2000)
Reviewed by Cherie Jung
Starring: Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Monica Belucci, Thomas Jane Director: Stephen Hopkins
Format: DVD, VHS
Interrogation is the name of the game here. Did he or didn't he rape and murder several young children?
Gene Hackman plays Henry Hearst, a prominent and influential lawyer. Hearst claims to have stumbled on the body of the last murdered girl. Unfortunately, he can't seem to keep his story straight. Each time he reviews the "facts" for the investigating police officers his "facts" change. He quickly becomes their prime suspect.
Morgan Freeman plays Victor Benezet, the police captain investigating the murders and coincidentally, a long-time friend of Hearst's. His loyalty to Hearst is stretched to the breaking point as the "circumstantial evidence" mounts against Hearst.
The setting in Puerto Rico adds nothing to the story. The Mardi Gras-like celebration likewise, adds nothing, except perhaps some confusion to the audience and more long minutes to the film.
Overall, I found the pacing of this movie to be slow. It was difficult to force myself to keep watching. The basic premise was interesting. What will a man confronted with "evidence" confess to, or not confess to? The filming technique used when telling the different variations of the "facts" was fascinating. As each "fact" changed, the scene changed to fit the newest version of the "facts." The filmmaker also juxtaposed the police office where the interrogation was taking place with other locations, allowing the audience to see what Hearst remembers or thinks he remembers seeing and doing on the nights in question.
I will admit the film had me swaying between my belief in Hearst's guilt or innocence but the ending wasn't as satisfying as I expected. It felt contrived.
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