Saturday 21 January 2023

Movie Review: Guilty As Sin (1993)

Genre: Crime Mystery Courtroom Drama
Director: Sidney Lumet
Starring: Don Johnson, Rebecca De Mornay, Jack Warden
Running Time: 107 minutes

Synopsis: After winning her latest case, fast-rising Chicago-based defence lawyer Jennifer Haines (Rebecca De Mornay) accepts wealthy gigolo David Greenhill (Don Johnson) as a new client. He is accused of murdering his rich wife, but claims she committed suicide and arranged to frame him. Jennifer is at first intrigued by David, but he soon reveals his dangerously twisted and obsessive character, intruding into her private life and placing her at risk.

What Works Well: Larry Cohen's script contains nuggets of a mostly unexploited psychological nightmare. Rebecca De Mornay's performance is inconsistent, but she does enjoy a few good moments as Jennifer experiences an emotional rollercoaster. Jack Warden bings veteran frumpiness into a welcome supporting role as Jennifer's investigator, while the final tussle is of the so-bad-it's-good variety. 

What Does Not Work As Well: Director Sidney Lumet is unable to generate neither eroticism nor suspense, and the production settles into mechanical and uninspired beats, the plot succumbing to preposterous twists. Don Johnson overplays the villain role, taking quick refuge in smarminess. His character's meticulous care gives way to literal bludgeoning, and police investigations of the mounting crime count are conspicuously absent. The courtroom scenes are frequently edited into microclips, failing to generate the requisite drama.

Conclusion: Case dismissed due to flimsy plotting and slipshod execution.

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