Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Michael Douglas confronts Jesse Metcalf

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (2009). Writer/Director: Peter Hyams. From the 1956 screenplay by Douglas Morrow.

C. J. Nicholas (Jesse Metcalfe) is a young, ambitious reporter who thinks he's got a great story: he's convinced that district attorney Mark Hunter (Michael Douglas) has won a long string of cases because he and a cop confederate are manufacturing last minute evidence and convicting defendants regardless of guilt or innocence. C. J. gets help from Ella (Amber Tamblyn), an associate of Hunter's, and from buddy Corey (Joel David Moore), who plays a particularly important part in his scheme. C. J. arranges to get himself arrested for a murder he didn't commit, figures that Hunter will do his usual trick with fake evidence, and at the last minute Corey will rush in with proof that said evidence was manufactured. Obviously, things don't work out the way C.J. intended. This is a highly interesting and adept updating of the 1956 Fritz Lang movie of the same name. While Metcalfe may need a little more seasoning before he can carry a whole picture [Douglas is excellent but has only a supporting role], he has his moments, the other actors are fine, and the movie has some clever and ingenious twists and turns.

Verdict: A rare case of a remake being perhaps slightly -- and arguably -- better than the original. ***1/2.

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