JUST CAUSE
DIRECTOR: ARNE GLIMCHER
USA 1995
CINEMATOGRAPHY: LAJOS KOLTAI
MUSIC: JAMES NEWTON HOWARD
CAST: Sean Connery, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Capshaw, Blair Underwood, Ruby Dee, Ed Harris


If I find anything worth while in these kind of thrillers, it is the acting. It is a refuge for what may be unpleasant and not quite a film that one generally can sit through, enjoy, and think about. JUST CAUSE, is a well written story, and it is brilliantly acted by the three of the top leads, who take you through this affair longer than most anyone probably could.

This is a story of vengeance, and what becomes of it. It seems that in a small town a black is ravaged by the local sheriff, who has a slight streak of brutal behavior. And the man who is accused, has become a well to do student in a well to do university. And when the case becomes notorious, a professor is brought in, and the gambit starts between the professor/lawyer and the sheriff. Their stories conflict. The information seems to go in various directions, until towards the end when the story becomes entangled into a much deeper mess than is first noticed, or is made clear.

The professor's wife happens to have been the prosecutor who put the young man in jail, which for some reason is not discussed until the end of the story, the two parties just happen to be apart. No mention of it is made, although there seems to be a connection. The prisoner seems to know an awful lot about the lawyer and his family.

In between the story are some excellent acting moments that many an actor would love to be a part of. Whether it was the script, or the two main leads, their exchanges are solid and very strong. It makes for an attraction, to what is otherwise, a not very attractive story. If one looks at it as a socio/political story, then I am wrong.

There are vast differences of opinion not only in the backgrounds of the two characters, but also in the way they go about things. The sheriff has a rough streak. The professor has learned to use his toughness in court, and has a good record with it. Inevitably this film brings out the obvious dislike that many a police officer has for the system of law, and the opposite distrust from the lawyer's point of view. And both know that they are capable of stretching the truths to no end in sight. The film exchanges between these two are at a very large boiling point, and do not quite explode but it appears that it could at any time.

Worth seeing for Sean Connery and Laurence Fishburne.

2 GIBLOONS

 

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