Presumed Innocent

If they gave an Oscar for the year's most claustrophobic film, PRESUMED INNOCENT could have won it in a walk. Everything about this film is as cramped, clenched, and constricted as Harrison Ford's face, which looks like a tightly balled-up fist here. However, Ford's perpetually coiled-up state also makes him a natural murder suspect in this adaptation of...read more

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If they gave an Oscar for the year's most claustrophobic film, PRESUMED INNOCENT could have won it in a walk. Everything about this film is as cramped, clenched, and constricted as Harrison Ford's face, which looks like a tightly balled-up fist here. However, Ford's perpetually coiled-up

state also makes him a natural murder suspect in this adaptation of attorney Scott Turow's best-selling novel. Ford plays prosecuting attorney Rusty Sabich, the quintessential good soldier right down to his Roman Centurion haircut. But Sabich serves a degraded master, District Attorney Raymond

Horgan (Brian Dennehy), a soured idealist whose principles have been compromised by years of deals made to keep the wheels of justice from grinding to a halt. As the film begins, Horgan is making a halfhearted run at re-election, but his campaign is fatally rocked by the sordid rape-murder of his

star prosecutor in the sex-crimes division, the brilliant, beautiful, and ambitious Carolyn Polhemus (Scacchi). The list of suspects narrows to a single name when Sabich's fingerprints are found on a beer glass five feet from Polhemus' body and when tests reveal that the killer's blood type also

matches that of Sabich, who had an affair with Polhemus that ended messily.

The solution to this whodunit will hardly surprise any of the millions who have read Turow's novel. However, neither the book nor the movie hinges on the killer's disclosure. Despite cinematographer Gordon Willis's penchant for underlit scenes of Sabich implausibly poring over legal documents in

near-darkness, and Pakula's overemphasis on Sabich's weariness and dessication, PRESUMED INNOCENT is never less than engrossing.

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  • Released: 1990
  • Rating: R
  • Review: If they gave an Oscar for the year's most claustrophobic film, PRESUMED INNOCENT could have won it in a walk. Everything about this film is as cramped, clenched, and constricted as Harrison Ford's face, which looks like a tightly balled-up fist here. Howev… (more)

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