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High Crimes (200)  IMDB   Website
Genre Thriller/Psychological Thriller MPAA PG13
Director Carl Franklin Rating
Writer Joseph Finder Runtime 115 minutes
Producer Lisa Henson Type Movie
Cinematographer Theo Van de Sande Format DVD
Studio 20th Century Fox Disk No. 1/1
Language English Edition
Country USA UPC
Color Color    
Plot Summary

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Defense attorney Claire Kubik (Ashley Judd) seems to have the perfect life. She has a high profile job at a big firm, a beautiful home outside San Francisco, and a husband, Tom (James Caviezel of The Thin Red Line), who loves her. Claire's biggest problem appears to be that she wants to have a baby, and she's having trouble getting pregnant. But when the police investigate a routine break-in at her home, they uncover the truth about her husband's identity, and her life is thrown into turmoil. Claire finds out that her husband's name is actually Ron Chapman, and that he's an ex-marine accused of murdering seven innocent civilians in El Salvador during a raid in the late '80s. He admits that he was there, and that he changed his identity to escape prosecution for the crimes, but he insists that he's innocent, and that the massacre was committed by another soldier under the orders of a powerful general (Bruce Davison), who is using Ron as a patsy to cover it up. Claire is eventually convinced that Ron's telling the truth. Faced with defending her husband in an unfamiliar military courtroom, Claire enlists the aid of Charles Grimes (Morgan Freeman), an ex-Army judge advocate with an axe to grind. Stonewalled by the military bureaucracy at every turn, they uncover a web of deception and disappearing witnesses, and they soon find their own lives in danger. High Crimes was adapted from Joseph Finder's novel by the husband and wife screenwriting team of Yuri Zeltser and Cary Bickley. The film was directed by Carl Franklin (One False Move), and co-stars Amanda Peet and Adam Scott. --- Josh Ralske
Actor / Character

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Ashley Judd ..... Claire Kubic
Morgan Freeman ..... Charles Grimes
James Caviezel ..... Ron Chapman alias Tom Kubic
Amanda Peet ..... Jackie Heller
Tom Bower ..... Mullins
Adam Scott ..... Embry
Bruce Davison ..... Brig. General Marks
Juan Carlos Hernandez ..... Major Hernandez
Michael Gaston ..... Major Waldron
Jude Ciccolella ..... Colonel Farrell
Emilio Rivera ..... Salvadoran Man
Mike Shannon ..... Abbott
Review

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High Crimes is a disappointingly routine thriller from director Carl Franklin. Though the political undertones of the story lend it a certain edge (the film offers an extremely critical view of the American military's involvement in El Salvador), the filmmakers simply discard the explosive issues they bring up when they become inconvenient to the narrative. Franklin's strengths with character, performance, and suspense (as evidenced by his two previous thrillers, One False Move and Devil in a Blue Dress) are not readily apparent in this film. He gets typically strong work from the redoubtable Morgan Freeman, and a nice, sympathetic turn from Adam Scott, who plays the inexperienced and guileless defense attorney assigned to the case. James Caviezel, as the caring husband with the dark secret in his past, does a good job of keeping the audience guessing. Ashley Judd's performance, however, is uneven. She has a few good emotional moments, especially in her scenes with Caviezel, but she sometimes seems stiff and self-conscious. Amanda Peet (The Whole Nine Yards) is adept at playing sexy kooks, but her performance here seems inappropriately over-the-top. The impression is that this is a work-for-hire for Franklin. In trying to bring a little recognizable humanity to the project, he's sabotaged by the creaky machinations of the script. Filled with gaping plot holes and unconvincing twists, the story winds its way to a fairly predictable "surprise" ending that disturbingly leaves the most compelling questions asked in the film unanswered. --- Josh Ralske

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