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Under Suspicion (2000)
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Review Date: August 27, 2000
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Writer: Tom Provost, W. Peter Iliff
Producers: S. Hopkins, L. McCreary, A. Gillen
Actors:
Morgan Freeman
Gene Hackman
Thomas Jane
Monica Bellucci
Plot:
A rich lawyer with a very pretty young wife is called in to answer some questions about two local teenage girl murders by a detective with a slight suspicion about the man. It isn't long before the brash attorney tumbles over a few lies and consequently leads his inquisitors to further suspect his guilt. The cat and mouse game between the cop and suspect, with flashbacks, is what fills our time with the dueling duo.
Critique:
A slow-moving yet engaging mystery starring two great actors at the top of their form, keeps you guessing throughout, but ultimately may lose many fans with its unorthodox ending. I personally do not mind movies that ask the viewer to "think" a little after the roll of the credits, but this one actually threw me for a little bit of a loop. In fact, I'm still sort of vague on the exact outcome of the characters in this film, but despite that, still enjoyed the ride and would actually be willing to see it again, just to certify my theories about its conclusion. Unfortunately, I saw the movie by myself so I wasn't able to discuss it with anyone either. So that is one thing about the movie that you should know right off the bat. If you only like films that close things up nice and tidy, then you might as well skip this ambiguous puppy. But if you enjoy films like 12 ANGRY MEN, in which the viewer is asked to discover things as it moves along, changing their mind throughout and ultimately passing their own judgment before the final decision comes down, then this is just your kind of mystery. The film could've been cut by about 15 minutes or so, with some scenes dragging on somewhat, but ultimately the superior performances by the two leads is what kept me interested throughout.

I also credit director Hopkins with some beautiful shots of the city during its opening credits, and an extremely unique perspective on the flashback sequences, in which the person being told the flashback actually joins the speaker in their own retelling. Very well done and certainly an original idea which lent an interesting new perspective to the goings-on of the past. Extremely stylized flashbacks as well. Hopkins goes nuts with the camera work. Oh yeah, and let me not forget to mention the stunning beauty of newcomer Monica Bellucci, an Italian actress, who radiates on the screen, and actually holds her own alongside the big boys. The film is really a difficult one to rate because it's one of those movies that didn't leave me feeling "complete" when I walked out. But looking back, I was quite "into it" while I was there, and the reasoning behind the ending is just now beginning to sink into my psyche, so let's just say that it may take a little while to fully appreciate.

Will you like it? Not sure. Does any of this sound interesting to you? If so, then I suggest you go see it and decide for yourself. There are some definite things that I could tell you though: the mystery in the film is a good one, the movie is slow and long but tends to hold your interest, and as I mentioned earlier, the performances are strong, but the ending...initially unsatisfying. In the end, I think that if you like a good murder mystery, you may enjoy unraveling this one, despite the lack of real action or thrills.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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