Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Review Rating: 6 of 10
Millionare Ted Crawford executes his wife after learning of her having an affair with a detective, and then proceeds to turn his trial and young hotshot prosecutor attorney Willy Beachum into a clockwork motion with all the moves already anticipated to set Crawford free.
If you like courtroom dramas like Primal Fear, this movie might be for you. Otherwise, it’s charmingly devastating and clever only once, no point in a repeat. There’s no real surprise twists, not a lot of astounding bait-and-switch from the villain, and the prosecuting attorney who has a nice cushy job waiting for him fails utterly at trying to pull off the idea that he just can’t stand being taken by the old guy who’s winning. We know Crawford killed his wife, that’s at the beginning of the movie. We even know why, it’s obvious—the detective first on the scene when Crawford is caught, is the one with whom Crawford’s wife was having the affair. And so predictably, he loses it. Things continue on through the trial, with Crawford playing every string he has and getting away with it too. Frustration mounts, and yes there is a final “Gotcha!” scene at the end, but it’s rather anticlimactic.
Anthony Hopkins does a fair job for the role they gave him, which frankly, wasn’t much. If they wanted a Hannibal Lecter dose of creepy, they should have fleshed out Crawford’s character more. And Ryan Gosling in his role as Beachum is very stiff and hurried, like both the actor and the character had someplace better to be.
It is enough to waste an afternoon watching this movie, just once. After that, the (weak) surprise ending is done and frankly, doesn’t bear repeating.