Edward Norton Weekend – Primal Fear (1996)

Director: Gregory Hobilt

Writer: Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman (Screenplay) William Diehl (Novel)

Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Terry O’Quinn, Andre Braugher

 

Plot: An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.


Tagline – Sooner or later a man who wears two faces forgets which one is real.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Thriller

 

Story: Primal Fear starts when the Archbishop is murdered, all clues point to bloody covered Aaron (Norton) as the murderer, he shy stuttering alter boy. When former district prosecutor Martin Vail (Gere) turned defence lawyer sees this as a spotlight for his new career direction and going against former colleague Janet (Linney) and her boss the district attorney Shaughnessy (Mahoney) the case goes to trial.

When Martin learns that Aaron has a split personality disorder with a much more aggressive Roy doing the dirty work for Aaron and the bigger picture of the motivation behind the murder comes to light.

 

Thoughts on Primal Fear

 

Characters – Martin Vail is the lawyer, he once was one of the biggest prosecutors in the city but has turned his back on that career to become a defence lawyer. He sees this case as the one that will give him his big break as a defence lawyer doing this case for free. He has a strong trusted team, he is made out to be a womaniser, though we never see him hit on anyone, only that he once had a fling with Janet in the past. Janet is the prosecutor that is taking the case, she is the one taking over Martin’s role and with a previous relationship with him. She knows this will be a career maker for her and is enjoying going head to head with her former mentor. Shaughnessy is the District Attorney that wants the death penalty and will not let Janet forget this. Aaron is the shy alter boy that is accused of murder but with him being found covered in blood even if you can’t see him doing this murder, Roy is the aggressive personality next to Aaron that knows the truth and seems to be the release of everything Aaron holds in. Shoat is the judge trying to control the case in what lawyers are trying to pull for their wins. Molly is psychologist that is studying Aaron trying to figure out what his mindset learning about Roy.

PerformancesRichard Gere is fantastic in the leading role, you see here how he shows the desperate he is to win this case. Laura Linney is strong in her role which must go against Richard Gere. Edward Norton gives one of the best debut roles of any actor in the history of film, he is disturbed when needed and calm when Aaron and crazed when Roy. The supporting cast are great too without taking the spotlight of the rest of the cast.

StoryThe story follows the trial of a disturbed young man accused of murdering an archbishop. While the court case unfolds like you would expect with twists coming from every corner and evidence coming to light through nearly every witness. As a fan of courtroom dramas this plays into everything I enjoy and I love watching crimes get solved in a courtroom. The story is very well paced and even being over 2 hours long doesn’t feel like you are giving the film this much time.

Crime/MysteryThe crime focuses on the murder and what gave the killer motivation, the mystery plays into the motivation too and just how the shy timid altar boy could have committed the murder.

SettingsThe film uses the courtroom for most of the scenes, we have the location involved in the crime too which shows how the lawyers are operating on both sides of the case.


Scene of the Movie –
The final twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would say the side case Martin worked on being touched on through the main case gets slightly annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best courtroom dramas of all time, with a crime which does balance the line between what would be considered a bigger crime and performances that could be considered the career best for members of the cast.

 

Overall: Courtroom delight.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – R – Robot Overlords (2014

Director: Jon Wright

Writer: Jon Wright, Mark Stay (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Kingsley, Gillian Anderson, Callan McAuliffe, Ella Hunt, James Tarpey, Milo Parker

 

Plot: Earth has been conquered by robots from a distant galaxy. Survivors are confined to their houses and must wear electronic implants, risking incineration by robot sentries if they venture outside.


Tagline – Robots never lie…….

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Young Adult 101

 

Story: Robot Overlords starts as the Earth has been invaded by robots and humans are confined to their homes, Kate (Anderson) has her own son Sean (McAuliffe) and adopted children Alexandra (Hunt), Nathan (Tarpey) and Connor (Parker). When the kids learn how to disable the electronic devices they venture outside.

Once outside the kids go in search of answers, keeping one step ahead of the robots one the chief Robin Smythe (Kingsley) who is working for the robots, they must learn the secrets of the invasion.

 

Thoughts on Robot Overlords

 

Characters – Robin Smythe is the zone chief, he works for the robots while keeping the humans safe when they could be in danger and are worth saving, he will not stop until he gets to be with Kate even if that means taking her son. Kate is the one that has taken in the orphans of the invasion and with her son she keeps them safe even in the battle against Robin. Sean is the eldest of the children, he leads the fight back once he discovers he has a very special ability in the war. The rest of the kids offer us comic relief when needed in the film.

PerformancesWhen we look at performances we must realizes Sir Ben Kingsley is in the film, this is the definition of a pay check performance from him. Anderson is good, but it is always hard to see her in any peril after the X-Files. The kids are good throughout never looking out of place.

StoryThe story here follows the pattern of the young adult movies, we have a group of teens that are in a post-apocalyptic world (well nearly) that must rise up and become the resistance. That is the soft outer shell of this movie, going deeper into the story we do have an original idea by having the robots force the humans into staying in their homes over just having them hiding. For the most part this would pass as what we know, it is the main twist which makes zero sense, but what the hell it worked to save the day somehow.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action in the movie does have a unique style, but just doesn’t come off in the most interesting or entertaining way, the adventure side of the film gives us the standard children, teenagers are the ones that will be the ones to save the day and the sci-fi ideas do work with how robots have taken over the world.

SettingsThe film is set in a small English coastal town, it is nice, but if you took the robots out of the scenes it looked like just backdrop stock photos.

Special EffectsThe special effects for the most part look very CGI, everything looks like a robot placed into the world rather than a robot in the world.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ability seems very random.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic young adult movie, it checks the boxes but never becomes one that you will remember when talking about them in general.

 

Overall: Standard young adult movie.

Rating