Year 8, Day 70 - 3/10/16 - Movie #2,271
BEFORE: That's right, it's the fourth film in a row with Morgan Freeman in it. Great, another thing I'll have to keep track of for the end-of-the-year wrap-up post.
THE PLOT: A lawyer is asked to come to the police station to clear up a few loose ends in his witness report of a foul murder. This will only take ten minutes, they say, but it turns out to be one loose end after another.
AFTER: This starts out as a simple interrogation drama, that kind of cat-and-mouse game between policeman and suspect...and (more or less) ends as a simple interrogation drama. There's sort of a realization that there should be a twist somewhere 2/3 of the way through the film, as we've come to expect in movies such as this, only it's not really twist, it's more like someone saying, "Oh, OK, I guess THIS is the kind of movie we're making now." And there's been quite enough of that around here lately, thank you very much, with films like "Mulholland Dr." telling the audience who its main characters are, only to change its mind 2/3 of the way through about what their names are, what they do, and, well, pretty much everything about them. Same with "Lucy", it starts out being a story about a drug mule having a bad day, only to have the central character start solving the mysteries of the universe. (Umm, I think?)
There are all kinds of accusations tossed or thrown at Hackman's character, Henry Hearst. He may be a rich pillar of the community in Puerto Rico (note to nearly all of the actors in this film, it should be pronounced "PWER-toh", not "POR-to" Rico.) but he also may be a child killer, rapist, pedophile pornographer, and worst of all, a lawyer. But maybe his wife's really to blame, because she stopped sleeping with him several years ago, so what's a guy to do but check out porn on the internet. (Hey, remember when someone was thought to be a pervert, just because they surfed the web? And remember when people still called it "surfing the web"?)
But there's an awful lot of waffling here, in an attempt to create some suspense. Is he an evil pedophile rapist, or just a horny web-surfer? Is he a fine upstanding member of the community, or a porn addict? Does he just like photography as a hobby, or is something darker going on? Let's raise the questions, then just sort of stall for an hour or so while he gives a speech at a charity event - for hurricane relief, thank God it wasn't against childhood trauma or rape victims, that would have been too ironic.
And placing the characters of the cop and the suspect INTO the flashbacks - making it look like they were originally there, even though they weren't - is a cute trick, but it's got no baseline in reality, and it even seems like an admission that if they DIDN'T do that, the film would be all talk and no action.
Also starring Gene Hackman (last seen in "A Bridge Too Far"), Thomas Jane (last seen in "Original Sin"), Monica Bellucci, Miguel Angel Suarez.
RATING: 5 out of 10 Christmas gifts