Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Double Jeopardy

MPAA Rating: R for language, a scene of sexuality and some violence

Reviewed by: W.J. Kimble
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Drama
Length:
1 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
1999
Relevant Issues
Double Jeopardy Cover Graphic

About murder in the Bible

Death in the Bible

Final judgment

Prisons in the Bible

ships

Starring: Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Greenwood, Annabeth Gish | Director: Bruce Beresford | Released by Paramount Pictures

What if someone you love betrayed you in the vilest way? Would you forgive him or her? Or would you get even? What if you found out that there was a legal loophole, in the law, that would allow you to get even (with this person); and, because of that loophole, you would never be punished for doing it? Would you do it? Of course, as Christians, we are taught to forgive; but down, deep inside all of us there is this voice that cries out for justice. We want to see the cruel villain punished. We want to see the victim vindicated and exonerated. We want to feel that justice has been served. And “Double Jeopardy” does just that. It leaves you with that feeling you get when you go to a ballgame to root for an underdog team and they win! You feel like life is good!

Scene from Double Jeopardy The movie begins with Libby Parsons (Ashley Judd, “Simon Birch”) embarking on a romantic, weekend escapade with her husband, Nick (Bruce Greenwood, “Rules of Engagement”), aboard her sailboat on the beautiful Puget Sound. During the night, Libby awakens to find herself covered in blood. Horrified, she follows the trail of blood; but instead of finding her husband, she finds the bloodied knife and is soon arrested by the US Coast Guard, which charges her with murder.

Scene from Double Jeopardy

Realizing that she is about to spend time in prison, Libby places her four year-old son, Matty (Benjamin Weir) into the entrusted care of her best friend, Angie Green (Annabeth Gish, “Steel”). While serving out her time, Libby discovers that her husband is alive and well. Nick, who has a new identity and has moved in with Angie, has relocated and no longer lives in the state of Washington. Realizing that she has been framed, Libby tells her fellow-inmates Evelyn Lake (Davenia McFadden, “My Best Friend’s Wedding”) and Margaret Skolowski (Roma Maffia, “Eraser”) the sordid story. They, in turn, inform her about the Fifth Amendment that states that no one can be tried twice for the same crime (this situation is known as “Double Jeopardy”).

Eventually, she is paroled and reports to her Seattle parole officer, Travis Lehman (Tommy Lee Jones, “U.S. Marshals”; “Men In Black”). Meanwhile, Libby, who is obsessed with the loss of her son, violates her parole and Travis is forced to pursue her. Knowing that Nick is a collector of art and that he is particularly fond of Kandinsky’s work, Libby traces Nick to New Orleans. Once there, she crashes his socialite party and publicly humiliates this Cuban-cigar-smoking debonair. Yet, Nick remains undaunted and will not give Matty back to her and she eventually takes advantage of the Double Jeopardy clause.

Was it self-defense or Double Jeopardy? Go see the movie and decide for yourself. Is this legal? You better talk to a bona fide lawyer first before testing it! Besides, Libby would still have to face charges for violating her parole, committing a felony hit-and-run and for the destruction of public property. Furthermore, she would be held for carrying a concealed weapon, resisting arrest and for breaking and entering. But this is the movies and it doesn’t matter! Besides, Bruce Greenwood does such a good job at playing the villain that people actually cheered when he was killed. Morbid, I know. Disgusting, maybe. But it tells you how well Bruce Beresford directed this movie. It is full of suspense and intrigue. It is well written and will keep you entertained from the beginning until the end.

On a different note, however, you must be warned that “Double Jeopardy” contains nudity. In the very beginning, while aboard the sailboat, Libby and Nick make love. As a result, you will see her breasts and thigh. Furthermore, the movie is full of profanity. And while I enjoyed the movie, I must remind you that God has taught is to forgive. “Vengeance is mine,” saith the Lord. It is His job to dole out punishment. We just have to learn to allow Him to do it. He says, “I will repay.” Let Him. Jesus also said, “Father, forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” In other words, in the same way I go about forgiving those who have wronged me, that is how I expect you to forgive me, God. So if I do not forgive others, do not forgive me. And if I forgive only in part, then only forgive me by that same measure. Scary isn’t it?

I know, many still argue that point, but look at Matthew 6: 14-15, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Notice that Jesus said that if you do not forgive men (for whatever reason), He cannot forgive you of your sins. So while you watch and enjoy the movie, go ahead and root for the good guy, but remember, God does not agree with the premise of this movie at all! To not forgive others is to put yourself in jeopardy with Him!

Viewer Comments
The sex scene and the language ruined this movie…
—Margaret Atwood, age 42
While the movie did contain an unnecessary sexual scene and language that didn’t need to be said, the movie was overall entertaining. I am tired of people having to find the analytical meaning behind every movie. What ever happened to just going to enjoy yourself? Both Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones did quite well, (as always) and I did not get bored watching the movie. It didn’t require much thought but just a mind ready to be entertained for the two hours. I personally enjoyed it. My Ratings: [2½/3]
—N.D., age 19
I looked into [it], and the double jeopardy rule would work in this situation. But she would get her child taken away, and get charged for destruction of public property and resisting arrest. The charges of violating her parole could get dropped because she broke the law to prevent a greater crime. The sex in the movie was terrible. It had no reason to be in the movie—it was put in just to excite the audience.

I would never see it again. I didn’t like any of it. The acting was even bad in the beginning. I couldn’t even enjoy the law side of Double Jeopardy, it was just to fake to me. My Ratings: [1/2]
—Jason Stover, age 14
Double Jeopardy makes one wonder when is Hollywood ever going to “get it.” A good plot with the usual twists, wonderful location shooting, good acting and a decent script should be a winning formula, especially with Tommy Lee Jones. Ashley Judd is on the outer limits of her acting, trying to establish a screen presence after the success of her television career. I would say it succeeded, but the almost “obligatory” one brief nudity scene and the “obligatory” F-words to get an R rating were injected with no need; the plot and tension should come from acting, not shock words that have lost their shock to the audience but not their offense to Christians.

The themes of revenge, love of child, what would a person do in the situation presented are worth exploring, and I felt the movie tried to portray them well. If not for the aforementioned words and needless views of Ms. Judd, it would be worth seeing. All in all, a made for TV movie that just had more blood, more language and more skin than we usually see on prime time. The Fugitive it is not.
—Allan Thompson, age 46
It could have been The Fugitive III. But Tommy Lee Jones plays a parole officer instead of a US Marshall. You could see it coming before it gets there. This movie had nothing to offer new in the wrongly accused get revenge plot. The story line did flow and moved at a good pace but there was nothing that gave it that spark to get it to the next level…

The graphic sex and nudity although brief and between husband and wife is still not needed to add anything but an R rating to the film. From a Christian perspective the bad guys lost and the good guys won. Crime doesn’t pay and right will be shone right the end are all in this movie. The reference to sex out of marriage as just accepted didn’t sit well with me. The movie misses a great opportunity to show how while hate is a great motivator in the end it leads to everyone’s destruction. It also like most Hollywood movies puts death and murder right above spilled milk. Don’t cry over it just clean it up and get on with life.

It was void of any real moral value besides the love of a mother to do “anything to get her son back.
—Michael Hilding, age 36