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Above Suspicion Review

Above Suspicion Review
4 10

PLOT: The true-crime tale of an FBI agent who finds himself having an affair with his informant.

REVIEW: There was a time that a thriller like ABOVE SUSPICION would be something you'd find on the regular in theatres. Flicks like Fatal Attraction or Single White Female used to be very popular, and they occasionally spill out into modern cinema. With the new film starring Emilia Clarke and Jack Huston, that old standard is back (sort of), with a true story to add a little bit of weight to it. The cast is good, there's a little bit of style thrown in, but is this little real-life crime drama worth your time? Well perhaps that all depends on your taste. Considering the film was completed in 2019, you have to wonder if the current pandemic is the only reason it's finally getting a release. Where to begin...

Above Suspicion tells the true story of Susan Smith (Clarke), a woman involved with small-time criminal activity, partly due to her ex-husband Cash (Johnny Knoxville) as well as her former flame Joe-Bea (Karl Glusman). Things get tricky when a hotshot FBI agent named Mark Putnam (Huston) shows up to investigate a series of bank robberies. When Mark meets Susan, he convinces both her and Cash to share intel on the criminal culprit. However, as Susan and Mark spend more time together, they begin a torrid affair, making things incredibly complicated for Susan and those she is informing against, as well as Mark's wife Kathy (Sophie Lowe) and their young child. This story is factual, and it led to very serious charges for a certain individual involved - if you've no interest in the film, you can Google both Susan Smith and Mark Putnam to get the full story.

Above Suspicion, Emilia Clarke, Johnny Knoxville, Jack Huston, True Crime, Thriller, JoBlo.comIt takes some time for Above Suspicion to start to get into the meat of the story. If you're not familiar with the case, the beginning narration from Clarke reveals quite a bit. One of the biggest issues with the feature is the overuse of telling the story in such a formulaic way. While Ms. Clarke handles the Southern dialect well, it becomes almost an annoyance having everything in the film spelled out as such. Ultimately, the true-crime aspect of it feels more like an episode of America's Most Wanted with drug-fueled parties presented by playing with the speed of the film. This never adds to the suspense. If anything it becomes more distracting without adding a thing.

Emilia Clarke and Jack Huston are both very talented performers. And they are fine here. However, the on-screen fire that should be crackling rarely even gives off a spark. Taking a very long time for the two to get together,  the relationship between the two rarely delivers. Both characters are frustratingly selfish, and neither elicits much sympathy. This is especially problematic because they are portraying real people involved in a serious crime. If anything, their performances only slightly bring this feature above a typical crime drama that you'd see presented on Lifetime or late-night cable. Even the love scenes are incredibly dull, with the briefly silhouetted bodies engaged in a secret tryst.

Above Suspicion, Emilia Clarke, Jack Huston, Johnny Knoxville, true crime, based on a true story, JoBlo.com, thrillerEven if the two leads aren't able to bring the fireworks to screen, you have to appreciate both Johnny Knoxville in a surprisingly good performance. As well, the most charismatic show in the film might very well be Karl Glusman as Joe-Bea. His character is the scum of the Earth, and Glusman with his long curly hair fully embraces this. As trashy as he plays him, it almost makes the role feel more honest than perhaps the leads. Another strong showing is Sophie Lowe as Mark's wife. The actress brings a surprisingly intriguing take to the loving wife. And frankly, like Glusman, brings a sense of truth to what could have easily been a throwaway role. As stated, the cast is fine, but all the pieces together make for a very bland feature.

Directed by Phillip Noyce from a script by Chris Gerolmo and Joe Sharkey, this flick rarely manages to surprise on any level. Even knowing nothing about it in advance, as I did, the reveals are obvious. One thing that I will give credit for is the impressive use of the backdrop of Kentucky. The gorgeousness of the woodsy landscape adds a bit to look at visually speaking. The characters are mostly terrible - I guess that makes sense with the kind of story they are telling - and the predictable story leaves much to be desired. If you are a fan of true-crime thrillers, maybe you'll be interested in giving this a look. That said, just be prepared for a story that takes much too long to get to the point and one that you'll begin to forget immediately after it ends. Above Suspicion is a dull crime drama that fails to deliver.

Source: JoBlo.com

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