High Crimes: Low Ratings
Phil Davetas
12/27/2002 8:30:53 PM

The studios deserve a pat on the back for this one. It’s good to see that they can still shell out some really bad cinema when they try. This one’s by the numbers. Maybe if this is the first movie you’ve ever seen, this might actually be entertaining. This movie is engineered for 15-year-old boys and girls with no sense of cinematic history. This movie is structured around Ashley Judd’s make-overs and the over-emphasis on her tough chick dialogue gives her character the resonance of a cardboard cut-out. And what is it about Jim Caviezel anyway? He’s not a bad actor, but he never seems to have any chemistry with his leading ladies, which botches the illusion that he’s in a plausible relationship. This flick is littered with logic problems from beginning to end. There are a few scenes where Ashley Judd and Amanda Peet are attacked in this rented house (barely escaping with their lives) and yet they continue to live there with no further incidents. Strictly structured for the sake of lifting the very thick veil of boredom.

About ten years ago Carl Franklin made a brilliant film. Too bad he’s never made a half-decent one since. His craft has become sloppy and rushed (this could be due to the production schedule), but he’s worn out his welcome on the ones-to-watch list. There is one scene where two actors are sitting in the back seat of a vehicle and the front passenger seat head rest has been completely removed to get a full view of one of the actors. In the very next shot, the head rest magically reappears. Considering the way Hollywood’s been making flicks lately, film buffs won’t be fooled for a second about who the killer is. This is badly written and directed and should be buried in your pursuit of decent entertainment.

Sometimes when studios package a DVD, they like to have these lavish images before the main menu comes up. It’s bad enough that Hollywood reveals too much of the plot in the trailers and TV spots, but now they’re also going way too far revealing too much before the DVD even starts—which is the case with High Crimes. Thankfully, you can just push the fast forward button to skip the pre-menu montage.

Out of all the standard featurettes on this DVD, there is one that is relatively interesting and that’s Liar Liar: How to Beat the Polygraph. Interviewed by an FBI consultant, we learn the mythology and scientific specs of the Polygraph. Also included is a featurette called A Military Mystery, which is unfortunately only a boring conversation with the novel’s author, Joseph Finder. The other featurettes are just lame behind-the-scenes crap they could have easily made into one 15-minute spot. But I guess it looks nice and pretty if you can list a bunch of things on the back of the DVD box to make it look like you’re getting a chock full of extra stuff.

High Crimes
(Nothing out of Four)
PG-13, 2002, 114 min., Fox Home Video.

Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Jim Caviezel, Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, Bruce Davison, Music by Graeme Revell, Based on the novel by Joseph Finder, Written by Yuri Zeltser and Cary Bickley, Produced by Arnon Milchan, Janet Yang and Jesse B’Franklin and Directed by Carl Franklin.

Special Features List:

Commentary with Carl Franklin, A Military Mystery, FBI Takedown in Union Square, Liar Liar: How to Beat a Polygraph, The Car Crash, Together Again, Theatrical Trailer.

Other Low Calorie Chick-in-Distress Flicks:

Sleeping With the Enemy, Enough, Murder By Numbers, Kiss the Girls, Along Came a Spider, Double Jeopardy, The Net, The Bone Collector, When a Stranger Calls, The Cell, Hannibal, Jagged Edge, Showgirls, Bound, Never Talk to Strangers, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, The Guardian, Sliver, What Lies Beneath, Hush, Psycho, The Dead of Winter, Cujo, Criss-Cross, The Sugarland Express, I Spit on Your Grave, Thelma & Louise, Boxing Helena, Love Crimes, The Music Box, Blue Sky, Silkwood…


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