An aimless young man, Johnny (Gary Oldman), is sent to prison. He entrusts his beloved dog, Evie, to the care of his former lover and best friend, Frank (Sir Alan Bates). When he gets out ... See full summary »
An eager and idealistic young attorney defends an Alcatraz prisoner accused of murdering a fellow inmate. The extenuating circumstances: his client had just spent over three years in solitary confinement.
Dan and Lorie are journalists working in the same office. More often than not they have opposing view of the issue in question. Deciding that this is hot stuff, a television producer gives ... See full summary »
A doctor's wife tires of his obsession with model trains, and spends her days wondering about the son she gave up for adoption at birth. While eating at a roadside café, she encounters a ... See full summary »
This film is the story of the spectacular life and violent death of British playwright Joe Orton. In his teens, Orton is befriended by the older, more reserved Kenneth Halliwell, and while ... See full summary »
An out of high school teen from the midwest moves to San Diego, California in the 1950s to live with his estranged father and new family. Escaping his past may not be as easy as he had hoped...or is it all a dream?
A rising young attorney successfully defends a man accused of murder, only to have the same type of murder then happen again. Right away the previously defended man hires the attorney again, and although the attorney is quite certain that he is the killer, he agrees to again defend him... much to the consternation of his friends. However, he explains that by being his attorney he will be better able to catch the man in a mistake... and on this the rest of the film develops, with the killer playing a cat and mouse game with the attorney until, at last, they both must recognize that they are not all that different.Written by
BOB STEBBINS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film's opening prologue cites a famous quotation from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The quote reads: "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." See more »
When the defense attorney places the glass of water on the jury box rail for the second time, it is gone in the next view of where it had been placed. See more »
In 1988's Criminal Law, Gary Oldman plays Ben Chase, an attorney who defends a man, Martin Thiel (Kevin Bacon) accused of a particularly vicious murder. With clever lawyering, he gets Thiel off, only to realize shortly afterward that Thiel is guilty and out there killing again. This time, though, Thiel is playing a mind game with Chase and wants to retain him when suspicion falls on him for a second murder that Ben knows he committed. Ben wants to right the wrong of the first "not guilty" plea so he agrees to work as Thiel's attorney, hoping for inside information that will convict the man.
This is very interesting premise, though the various themes get lost in an uneven script that tries to do too much. The focus actually becomes the performances of Oldman and Bacon - Oldman giving a very emotional performance and Bacon a very cold one. Posts here have pronounced Oldman as hammy - hammy to me is when a performance is bigger than the emotions underneath so that the performance seems phony. Here, the character of Ben seemed to be truly overwrought, and the emotions came from a real place. Oldman at any rate is an interesting actor, and this material in the hands of a lesser one would have made it dismissible. As it is, the film survives on the basis of the work of the two actors.
Honing in on one theme rather than several would have helped "Criminal Law." It tries to tackle psychosis, legal technicalities, the law versus justice, attorney-client privilege, mystery and romance in one script. When it comes out of the Mixmaster, it's all pretty vague.
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