Under Suspicion (2000) Movie Review

Director: Stephen Hopkins

Writer: Tom Provost, W. Peter Iliff (Screenplay) Claude Miller, Jean Herman, Michel Audiard/John Wainwright (Original Screenplay/Book)

Starring: Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Monica Bellucci, Nydia Caro, Miguel Angel Suarez, Pablo Cunqueiro

Plot: A wealthy attorney in San Juan comes to the police station for “10 min.” of follow up questions to finding a 12-year old girl’s body in a park. Another young girl was also raped and murdered weeks earlier and the evidence points to him.


Tagline – A hidden past, a secret life, witness or suspect, guilty or innocent?

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Tense

Story: Under Suspicion starts as Henry Hearst (Hackman) agrees to go into see Captain Victor Benezet (Freeman) in a follow up to discovering a dead body on his daily run, only part of Henry’s story doesn’t add up. As Victor and Detective Felix Owen (Jane) start investigating Henry’s story more, they start to see him being the prime suspect.

Henry’s position of power as an attorney makes the case more difficult, as any false story would ruin both Henry and Victor, with each conversation offering new clues to the truth about what really happened to the murdered young girls.

Thoughts on Under Suspicion

Characters – Henry Hearst is wealthy attorney, married to a young wife, respected in the neighbourhood, he discovers a dead body of a young girl, whose story doesn’t add up, making him the prime suspect, he must give details about his personal life, which sees that his life isn’t what everyone else believes, having secrets that aren’t going to help his side of the case, always claiming his innocence to the truth. Captain Victor Benezet has worked with Henry in the past, they have been through cases for years and he knows that if the investigation comes out, he will handle things with more care, only to need to play both sides of Henry, his friend and the cop after a killer. Detective Felix Owen is the younger investigator, he wants the case solved, he will step over the line at time, needing to be kept in place by Victor, while needing to push the boundaries. Chantal Hearst is the younger wife of Henry, she has become distant from him, with his actions driving her away, she could answer a few of the big questions, but doesn’t want to bring her family down, even though she has a grudge about what Henry might have done before.

PerformancesWe do have two of Hollywood’s heavyweights in the leading roles, Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman, who both show why they are on top of most best actor lists, they carry the film with their performances, while being joined by Thomas Jane and Monica Bellucci giving very strong supporting performances too.

StoryThe story here follows what is simply a follow up set of questions about discovering a dead, soon turns into a full blown investigation into the man that could have been behind the murders. This is a story about people on power being able to play this card to try and get out of questioning, though we do balance the guilty or not guilty side of the story very well, showing us who could be behind the crime. The constant switch in stories does help us question everything we are seeing, showing that trust is what will always be the most difficult thing to maintain. The do only see how one man is being questioned to new limits and how this pressure could create differences in stories given too.

CrimeThe crime is two murders of young girls, they need to be solved fast with the police needing to focus on all sides of the story, making sure everything is covered before the killer could strike again.

SettingsThe film is set on an island, which shows us just how the characters are living in luxury away from the big cities.


Scene of the Movie – Henry and Felix questioning.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough investigating into the murders seems to be happening, only the questioning.

Final Thoughts This is a tense thriller that does keep us on the edge of our seat throughout, as we are left to wonder just what is really happened, being carried by powerhouse performances.

Overall: Twist Filled Thriller.

Signature Entertainment presents Under Suspicion on Digital HD July 31 and on Amazon Prime August 3rd

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – A – Along for the Ride (2000)

Director: John Kaye

Writer: John Kaye (Screenplay)

Starring: Melanie Griffith, Penelope Ann Miller, Patrick Swayze, Richard Schiff, Annie Corley, Lee Garlington, Michael J Pollard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Plot: A schizophrenic romantic tracks down her college sweetheart to help her find their son she gave up for adoption sixteen years ago to the dismay of his new wife.


Tagline – First Love Lasts Forever

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Feel Good Movie

Story: Along for the Ride starts when schizophrenic Lulu (Griffith) leaves her home to find her college sweetheart, Ben Clifton (Swayze) who has gone onto become a television screenwriter and married to Claire (Miller) with them both having a happy life together. Lulu comes in search of Ben to drop a bombshell on him, they have a child and that is the reason she left the home to see him on his 16th birthday for the first time.

As Ben reluctantly agrees to go on the trip, Claire is left torn with their own past dealing with the grief the two experienced between the two.

Thoughts on Along for the Ride

Characters – Lulu is the schizophrenic woman that has lived in a home to help her manage her condition, until she decides to leave without any warning, she wants to find Ben to face something from their past, a child she had kept secret for years from everybody else, she has been managing her condition, but her outbursts are clear that she can’t handle being alone in life, with the moment potentially being the biggest challenge of her life. Ben is a screenwriter that is happily married despite having their own tragedy in the family, she is Lulu’s ex from decades before and learns the bombshell they have a kid and must travel across country to meet him with Lulu, putting his career and own marriage on the line. Claire is the wife of Ben who gets even more concerned about him running of with Lulu, she has been dealing their own person problems her own way, which is why she is even more worried about Ben and wants to stop something she thinks is going to happen, happen.

PerformancesMelanie Griffith is great in the role, playing a difficult character and showing both sides of her character’s personality with ease. Patrick Swayze is great too, showing us just how difficult grief can be for people. Penelope Ann Miller as the wife who is concerned about her marriage is everything you want from a character that is feeling distant.

StoryThe story here follows a schizophrenic woman that turns to an ex-lover to travel across country to meet their son, one he never knew they had, putting his own career and marriage on the line to help his former partner. This story does show how much love can last forever, no matter how long you are apart and that a mother will always give everything to show love to their child even if they haven’t been able to spend any time with them. We see how a marriage could be put in a difficult position because of a tragic event that nobody involved could have planned for. We have a mix of a road tip and reconnection and dealing with the past in this story, which is all handled well, with the schizophrenic character showing us just how easily it can be switched on and off without any control.

RomanceThe romance side of the film follows the idea of what once was there and what could have been there more, along with how people move on a fall in love again. We look into more adult relationships rather than the whirlwind that comes from first falling in love.

SettingsThe film does have a road trip setting which sees the characters travelling across America, we don’t go for any big landmarks, which at times doesn’t help understand the scale of the distant being travelled.


Scene of the Movie – The Hustler screening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Freddie.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable road trip movie that has an excellent cast, with strong performances throughout, one to be watch by the fans of the stars.

Overall: Enjoyable throughout.

Vince Vaughn Weekend – The Cell (2000) Movie Review

Director: Tarsem Singh

Writer: Mark Protosevich (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D’Onofrio, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jake Weber, Dylan Baker, James Gammon

Plot: An F.B.I. Agent persuades a social worker, who is adept with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim.


Tagline – This Summer… Enter The Mind Of A Killer

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Stunning

Story: The Cell starts as we meet Catherine Deane (Lopez) who works by going into the mind of people in comas to try and help them get out of the trauma, with her patient being a young boy, elsewhere serial killer Carl Stargher (D’Onofrio) who drowns his victims before performing sadomasochistic acts on the bodies, with FBI agents Gordon (Weber) and Peter Novak (Vaughn) trying to track him down.

When the FBI find Carl, they learn he has fallen into a coma, with little chance of waking up, he has taken another victim and they need the location, which leads them to Catherine, who is assigned to go into the mind of the serial killer to learn the location before the time runs out.

Thoughts on The Cell

Characters – Catherine is the doctor that goes into the minds of comatose people in hope of finding a cure that will let the victim get over the trauma that has locked them in. she experiences all sorts inside the minds of people, usually helping a young boy, now she gets to go into the mind of a serial killer who has a victim locked away somewhere. Peter Novak is an FBI agent leading the investigation into the serial killer, he turns to Catherine to help, being the one that explains just how difficult this case has become. Carl Stargher is the serial killer that has been racking up the kills with a method being as twisted as they come, he has started getting more regular and with the latest victim taken he falls into a coma, which sees him needing to have his mind visited to learn the truth about the location of the missing woman. We fill out the characters with fellow officers and the scientists that work with Catherine.

PerformancesJennifer Lopez is wonderfully in the lead role, she shows how calm her character needs to be even in the face of pure nightmares. Vincent D’Onofrio is disturbing as the serial killer, because he is so cold in how everything is delivered you don’t want to see what he does next. Vince Vaughn as the FBI agent is great, but doesn’t have the level of work that the lead two must get through during the film.

StoryThe story here follows a FBI agent that turns to a new form of science to get help from Catherine Deane to figure out where a comatose serial killer has left his latest victim. Where the serial killer hunting of this side does get trimmed off, so we can focus on the searching for the missing victim, by diving into the idea of explore the mind of a comatose person is where the film stands out. The world we enter is incredible and shows that serial killers could have been raised in a world of pure torture causing them to break, while the story is fantastic, it could easily be one that gets bought to today world to explore the mental side of serial killers even more. The race against time element also helps makes this story feel like we are in the real time frame to get everything done.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror in this film comes from what we see Catherine experience as well as seeing what Carl does to his victims, while the sci-fi of the film does look at the idea of being able go into the mind of somebody else without truly getting into the science of it.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to give us the routine FBI searching areas, but where the settings improve are the different environments Catherine finds herself going through during her trip into the mind, each one could be more shocking than the last.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are wonderful too, they really do push the boundaries for the time and don’t look like they have been dated.


Scene of the Movie – The first entry into Carl’s mind.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The cops do come off pretty routine.

Final Thoughts This is an amazing sci-fi film that takes the hunt for a serial killer in a new direction, one that has endless possibilities of horror.

Overall: Disturbing Thriller.

Kevin Costner Weekend – Thirteen Days (2000) Movie Review

Director: Roger Donaldson

Writer: David Self (Screenplay) Ernest R May, Philip D Zelikow (Book)

Starring: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp, Stephanie Romanov, Lucinda Jenney, Frank Wood, Henry Strozier, Kevin Conway

Plot: In October 1962, the Kennedy administration struggles to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis.


Tagline – You’ll Never Believe How Close We Came

Runtime: 2 Hours 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: History Lesson

Story: Thirteen Days starts like a normal day in the Kennedy administration, his assistant Kenny O’Donnell (Costner) joins the President John F Kennedy (Greenwood), his brother Robert F Kennedy (Culp) and advisers from every side for an emergency meeting.

The meeting is called to discuss the appearance of nuclear warheads in Cuba, believing Russia are moving to a closer position which could destroy large parts of America in minutes. What follows in Kenny trying to help JFK make the smartest decision, despite how many different people are advising with multiply options, all leading to one of the most intense stand offs in military history.

Thoughts on Thirteen Days

Characters – Kenny O’Donnell is the assistant advisor to the President, he gives him advice which would see him make decisions which would support the image of the President and the country instead of agree with the fast track answers which would see America go to war, he is the man that people turn to if they are not prepared to challenge the President’s decisions. President John F Kennedy is the man in the middle of the situation, the man that needs to make the final decision after taking on all the advice from his experts, he wants to remain in control of the situation to the best of his ability. Robert F Kennedy is one of the men advising his brother, he knows how John thinks and knows how the help him make the right decisions to remain calm and in control. We do have plenty of different advisors who are trying to offer a plan to what could make this stand off end quicker.

PerformancesKevin Costner is always entertaining to watch in a political movie, this is no different as he plays the pivot to everything going on. Bruce Greenwood as the President is great to watch through the film, with the whole cast looking like they would have been the people they are playing.

StoryThe story here follows the events around the Cuba Mission Crisis, from the point of view of the Americans. This does break down to be a political thriller that does keep us on edge as we see all the potential ideas that were thrown out which could have seen the world in a different place if different outcomes had been used, while this is a 2 hour story, we only focus on the different ideas, which is interesting to see. Each person could have their own agenda which could show the mindset of the public during the events. We could have more intense moments, but it just doesn’t really do that much more, which doesn’t display just how dangerous the event could have been.

HistoryThis is a big historical moment and it does show how the people in power were put on panic station when the events started to unfold.

SettingsThe film uses the political settings for the most part, which does show us just how the people stayed together through the events of the crisis.


Scene of the Movie – Putting the Admiral in his place.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We could have had more intense sequences.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at one of the biggest stand offs in modern history, we do see how it could have gone very differently and how everything unfolded.

Overall: Interesting look at history.