Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1996. Paramount Pictures, Rysher Entertainment. Screenplay by Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman, based on the novel by William Diehl. Cinematography by Michael Chapman. Produced by Gary Lucchesi. Music by James Newton Howard. Production Design by Jeannine Oppewall. Costume Design by Betsy Cox. Film Editing by David Rosenbloom. Academy Awards 1996. Golden Globe Awards 1996.
Excellent courtroom thriller will have you on the edge of your seat. When a prominent Chicago priest is murdered, a young Kentucky boy (Edward Norton) from the church’s orphanage is caught running away from the crime scene. Knowing this to be a high profile case and considering the victim was a friend, sleazy lawyer Richard Gere takes on the case pro bono and decides to defend the young man. Soon things start to heat up, witnesses go missing and lives are at risk, and before he knows it Gere is in way over his head. Norton made waves in Hollywood with this role, and deservedly so: his stuttering, constantly apologetic Aaron is a fascinating and complex character who has a lot more to hide than meets the eye. Gere is also at his best, his slick, oozing charm and angelic smile with the devil’s wiles making him a perfect fit. Laura Linney makes an impression as the prosecuting attorney on the case, but her version of tough is actually just bitchy and she is eventually tiresome.