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Drama - Court Room

Just Cause (1995)

Duration1h 42m
RatingsUK: 18, USA: R, Spain: 18 
Source of storyA novel by John Katzenbach
DirectorArne Glimcher
Writers/ScriptJeb Stuart, Peter Stone
StarringSean Connery, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Capshaw, Blair Underwood, Ed Harris, Scarlett Johansson, Ned Beatty, George Plimpton,
RatingsIMDb: 6.4 by 26K people.  Rotten Tomatoes:26% by 31 reviewers.

Elevator Pitch: Paul Armstrong, an academic with human rights leanings is encouraged to take up the case of Bobby Earl Ferguson who is has been arrested for the murder of a young white girl by his wife, a former prosecutor. Armstrong goes off to Florida and commences his investigation, almost physically opposed by the local cops who had arrested interrogated Bobby Earl. The prisoner claims that a confession had been beaten out of him and, crucially, when Armstrong interviews Blair Sullivan, a serial killer facing execution it seems that he may have been the murderer.  They go to court and Bobby Earl is released, but is he innocent?

Content: There is no sex or nudity, but it should be remembered that the subject of the film is the rape and murder of children, a pretty grim topic. Some drinking in a social context, and a bit of smoking, I think. We see Armstrong in various domestic situations with his wife and daughter. He goes to Florida and has numerous adversarial discussions with the policemen involved who physically threaten him at times. He has interviews with the prisoners, those with Blair Sullivan (Ed Harris) being particularly unpleasant. The plot takes the participants out into the everglades where alligators lurk.

A View: This outing was not much liked by the critics, but made a bit of money. Connery and Capshaw made an unlikely, but quite successful, pairing. They, the critics, generally disliked the director’s style which reduced possible tension. I found aspects of the plot completely ludicrous but maybe that was just me. But all in all, it was not a bad film by today’s poor standards so could be a watch while doing your knitting.

Additional Info:  The director an art dealer who has made occasional forays into film directing.   

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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