A prosecutor becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a
colleague after it's discovered that he was having an affair with her.
Presumed Innocent (1990)
Directed by Alan J. Pakula
Written by Frank Pierson and Alan J. Pakula
Starring Harrison Ford, Brian Dennehy, Raul Julia, Bonnie Bedelia, Paul Winfield, Greta Scacchi, John Spencer, Tom Mardirosian
Based on the novel by Scott Turow
Presumed Innocent is an engaging courtroom drama, once it actually gets going. My biggest issue with the film is its snail's pace. It takes forever to get to the action, but once we do, the film features some of the most riveting and satisfying courtroom scenes I've ever seen. That's owed mostly to Raul Julia, who I think steals the show in this film. While I think Harrison Ford does a decent enough job, I do think he's been better. Though his scene at the end during the big reveal is some of his best work. This film is quite an enigma. It's both really good and mildly disappointing at the same time.
Ford plays Rusty Sabich, a talented prosecutor who is put in charge of a new case: the murder of a colleague, Carolyn Polhemus (Scacchi). Sabich is secretly devastated, because he was sleeping with Carolyn and when she broke it off, he became obsessed with her, much to the chagrin of Sabich's wife Barbara (Bedelia). When his prints are found at the scene, Sabich is charged with Carolyn's murder, prompting him to hire superstar attorney Sandy Stern (Julia) to represent him, and what a job he does. As I said, the courtroom scenes are absolutely riveting. But getting there takes forever, and the constant plot twists can get confusing at times.
Presumed Innocent features a stellar cast and an interesting plot, though I could've done without the red herrings and double crosses, most of which don't make any sense. Plus, knowing how the film ends, most of it doesn't matter either. If you could boil this film down to just the legal drama, it would be fantastic. But alas, it can't be done.