High Crimes

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Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, James Caviezel, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet
Director: Carl Franklin

Claire Kubik (Ashley Judd) and Tom Kubik (James Caviezel) are a happily married couple going about their everyday life. One night their house is broken into and as anyone would, they called the police. Then when they are walking along the street without warning a police swat squad jumps out on them, arresting Tom and takes him away. When Claire tries to find out what’s going on she is told it is a matter of national security and Tom is under military arrest. It turns out that when the police dusted their house for prints of course they found Claire and Tom’s as they live there, but an alert came up on Tom’s prints as a wanted man.

From this point on Claire finds herself dealing with the military and a military court. She rents a place to live close to the army base where Tom is being held and decides, as she is a lawyer, to defend him herself. But she is unfamiliar with military courts so she hires an ex-military lawyer Charlie Grimes (Morgan Freeman) to work with her. To complete her legal team the army automatically assigns a military lawyer Lieutenant Embry (Adam Scott) as Tom’s defence. Additionally Claire’s sister Jackie (Amanda Peet) turns up and moves in with Claire, partly to help out and partly because she has lost her own apartment and has nowhere to live.

It’s true HIGH CRIMES has some cliched characters, Morgan Freeman is an ex-alcoholic but one of the best military lawyers, the army’s defence lawyer for Tom has little experience and has never yet won a case and it’s very convenient that Ashley Judd’s character just happens to be a lawyer herself. But the chosen group of characters do work well together in the film. Amanda Peet throws some fun into the movie as the sexy extrovert sister and must rapidly be becoming one of Hollywood’s hotter properties and not just in looks.

It’s also good to see Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman working together again, the last time was KISS THE GIRLS in 1997.

Forgive the cliched characters and HIGH CRIMES comes together as a good mass market movie that’s fairly solid with a nice twist towards the end although it does give itself away a couple of scenes too early. Still, I came out of the screening feeling I had enjoyed it – and that’s a big plus.

4 out of 6 stars