Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
Starring: Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, James Caviezel | Directed by: Carl Franklin | Produced by: Jesse Beaton, Lisa Henson, Arnon Milchan, Janet Yang, Jesse Beaton-Franklin | Written by: Yuri Zeltser, Cary Bickley, Susan Shilliday | Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Many couples struggle in the area of infertility. It’s only natural for husbands and wives to long for a child, and it is difficult in relationships when that area of intimacy becomes a challenge. I know all of those frustrations first hand as my wife and I took that journey for nine years. The world of parenting just always seemed out of reach and everyone around us appeared pregnant or with children. This is one of several points that Joseph Finder weaves into an excellent story in “High Crimes”. Though still flawed, this could be the perfect date movie.
For the ladies, we have romance, a loving couple charting ovulation, the dead beat sister who comes through in the end, and a professional/career wife who is ready to stand by her man. For the men, we have military intrigue, action, suspense, and more than its share of thrills and spills. Our story begins with Claire (Ashley Judd) and Tom (James Caviezel) Kubik having their romantic world shattered by an abrupt FBI arrest.
Claire is a high profile San Francisco lawyer. Her husband is being accused of killing nine civilians in El Salvador. She quickly learns that Tom not only served in the U.S. Marine Corps, but his real name is Ronald Chapman and he has been AWOL for 14 years. Claire is not impressed by Lt. Terry Embry (Adam Scott) who has been assigned to her husbands case. She quickly seeks permission to sit second chair during the proceedings. Our plot quickly becomes a cross between “JAG” and “Law and Order.” Mrs. Kubik does not stop there. She finds another lawyer that has military law experience. Charlie Grimes (Morgan Freeman) is our crusty, unshaven, trying-to-be-sober assistant.
Freeman and Judd bring a lot of style to Yuri Zeltser and Cary Bickley’s script. There is always some new piece of information that is added to keep the deck stacked against our hero. There is plenty of suspense and the soundtrack is perfect for this film. I love the unique blend of the hyper and the hokey as Director Carl Franklin pushes our buttons.
I’ll refrain from saying anything more about the story (wouldn’t want to be a scene spoiler). But I will say that “High Crimes” does earn its PG-13 rating: it’s fairly tame in the area of language, the violence is right on the edge but not obsessive, but there are three scenes of sexuality/nudity that include a strip club, a motel room with prostitutes, and implied pre-marital sex. For those who feel comfortable in PG-13 fare, “High Crimes” offers a decent thriller worth the price of a babysitter.