Witness (1985)

PETER WEIR

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  

USA, 1985.  Paramount Pictures, Edward S. Feldman Production.  Story by William Kelley, Pamela Wallace, Earl W. Wallace, Screenplay by William Kelley, Earl W. Wallace.  Cinematography by John Seale.  Produced by Edward S. Feldman.  Music by Maurice Jarre.  Production Design by Stan Jolley.  Costume Design by Dallas D. Dornan, Shari Feldman.  Film Editing by Thom Noble.  

Absorbing crime thriller that includes undercurrents of romance and cultural exploration. A young Amish boy (Lukas Haas) accidentally witnesses the murder of a cop while waiting in a train station with his mother (Kelly McGillis) for a connection to Baltimore. The police officer (Harrison Ford, in his most charismatic performance) who investigates the crime ends up having to move to the Amish community in order to protect the boy, integrating himself among their people and trying very hard not to fall in love with McGillis. Director Peter Weir’s depiction of the Amish is never folksy or quaint, and the realistic attitude towards their life (which includes some incredibly rude, disrespectful tourists) only enriches the murder mystery story, which is already quite riveting. Look for Viggo Mortensen making his film debut.

Academy Awards:  Best Original Screenplay; Best Film Editing
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor (Harrison Ford); Best Director (Peter Weir); Best Cinematography; Best Art Direction; Best Original Score

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Picture-Drama; Best Actor-Drama (Harrison Ford); Best Supporting Actress (Kelly McGillis); Best Director (Peter Weir); Best Original Score; Best Screenplay

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