Saturday 27 April 2024

Movie Review: Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (2009)

Genre: Legal Thriller  
Director: Peter Hyams  
Starring: Michael Douglas, Amber Tamblyn, Jesse Metcalf  
Running Time: 106 minutes  

Synopsis: In Shreveport, Louisiana, television reporter CJ Nicholas (Jesse Metcalf) pursues a romance with lawyer Ella Crystal (Amber Tamblyn), an assistant to politically ambitious District Attorney Mark Hunter (Michael Douglas). CJ develops a theory that Hunter achieves his perfect conviction rate by planting evidence to frame defendants. Assisted by his work colleague Corey Finley (Joel David Moore), CJ decides to expose Hunter by incriminating himself in a murder case with circumstantial evidence. When his plan misfires, Ella is caught between her boss and her lover.

What Works Well: Without having to stretch, Michael Douglas is predictably good in a smallish role, and a game Amber Tamblyn improves as her character grows in prominence. Slick on-location cinematography and quality production values add polish to the mix of romance, courtroom drama, and a bit of street action.

What Does Not Work As Well: This remake of the 1956 Fritz Lang film never overcomes the bizarre premise of a reporter concocting a ridiculous plot to implicate himself in a murder. That it all goes wrong is utterly predictable. A couple of late-in-the-day narrative twists arrive from nowhere, lack conviction, and just widen the plot holes. Jesse Metcalf falls short of the charisma needed to give the suspect material a boost.

Conclusion: Self-condemned to fail.

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