Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt - DVD Review


Starring Jesse Metcalfe, Amber Tamblyn, Michael Douglas, Joel David Moore and Orlando Jones.
Directed by Peter Hyams.

When you have a heavy-hitter like Michael Douglas sign on as your villain, I would think you'd try to beef up his role in this otherwise cable-movie level thriller about a reporter trying to bring down a corrupt district attorney. I mean, I recognize Douglas isn't the headliner he was twenty years ago, but the man's Oscar was not a fluke.

Jesse Metcalfe (John Tucker Must Die, ABC's Desperate Housewives) plays the main character here, C.J. Nicholas, TV reporter. He decides to frame himself for murder to prove D.A. Mark Hunter (Douglas) is fixing cases to ensure convictions to further his political career.

The movie takes a predictable turn halfway through, and that's when it got interesting. 1) It gave Douglas more to do, as he's barely in the first half, and 2) there's a car chase that's genuinely exciting.

Hunter is thinly written, but Douglas shows that a good actor can elevate such material. Hyams' previous efforts (A Sound of Thunder, The Musketeer, The Relic) show why maybe, the studio didn't trust him enough to get better actors to fill out the rest of the roles. Or maybe they read the last five pages of the script, where it jumps from mundane to convenient to ridiculous. I never saw the 1950's original, but maybe the coincidences were more acceptable back then.

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