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4.4 out of 5 stars25
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 5 July 2008
Glenn Close plays an extremely wealthy, not to mention sickly woman who mysteriously keels over and lies in a coma for the rest of the film.
However, worry not, the story is told in flashback's, so she does do a bit of acting as the unlikeably weiny Sunny Von Bulow.

But all is not what it seems, her cold but dutiful husband Claus Von Bulow, played by Jeremy Irons, is accused of wickedly dosing out too many pain killers. His motive: her large amounts of dosh. Accused of attempted murder Claus employs a top lawyer to defend himself. As the evidence and defence is produced and delivered your are constantly being forced to change your verdict as you see both sides of the situation.

I have to say I do like the Claus Von Bulow character as he's very detached, ordered and seemingly unruffled throughout, were as Sunny Von Bulow is upper-class horrible as only the super-rich can be. Can't say too much more, because It might ruin it, but it's a great story with great acting from Jeremy Irons.
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In murder mysteries, there's usually a Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Adrian Monk or even a Shawn Spencer standing by to solve everything.

However, real life isn't so tidy. And nothing was tidy in the widely-publicized incident where socialite Sunny von Bülow lapsed into a coma, with her husband as the only suspect. "Reversal of Fortune" quietly chronicles a real-life murder investigation and trial, while avoiding melodrama and theatrics -- or assumptions about what really happened.

On December 21 1980, Sunny von Bülow (Glenn Close) was found unconscious on her bathroom floor, and remained in a vegetative coma until her death almost exactly twenty-eight years later. Her suspicious children Alex and Ala began a private investigation, and soon Sunny's estranged husband Claus (Jeremy Irons) was accused of having tried to kill her twice. He was tried and convicted.

Meanwhile, lawyer Alan Dershowitz is struggling to help a pair of young men on death row when he's unexpectedly contacted by Claus, who wants Dershowitz to take on his case. With a small army of young law students, Alan starts investigating a murder case that may not have been a murder, with a client whom the American people have already decided is guilty. But there are clues and questions that may never be answered.

"Reversal of Fortune" is a very rare movie about murder investigations and legal cases, because it's remarkably realistic. It answers no questions about what happened to Sunny -- was it murder, suicide or a freak accident? -- and there are no big dramatic courtroom showdowns or dramatic clue-finds like there are on TV.

Instead, "Reversal of Fortune" glides through on everything that really HAPPENED, and on the genuine grueling process of puncturing a seemingly airtight case. We follow Dershowitz as he and his team sift through the evidence and testimonies, and while it lacks the thrills of the usual TV mysteries, it's all the more fascinating because there are no easy answers or innocent people.

And lest we get bored there are frequent flashbacks to Sunny and Claus's marriage. Some are told by Claus, some by court testimony, and some by Sunny herself (often seen curled and corpselike in her hospital bed, getting sponge-baths and hooked up to an IV).

Pretty much everybody in this movie does an excellent job. The real standout here is Jeremy Irons, who plays the "Eurotrash gold-digger" to charming erudite perfection -- you can never tell if Claus is a cold-blooded sociopath, or a sleek charmer with a sick sense of humor. Glenn Close also does a good job both as the neurotic, rather childish Sunny and the comatose woman looking back on her life.

"Reversal of Fortune" avoids the tropes of most movies about criminal investigations -- this is a tasteful, intricate look at a real-life court war. Watch it at least twice to absorb its quality.
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on 19 June 2007
Claus von Bulow. Victim of a miscarriage of justice or a criminal who used his money to "beat the rap." The movie suggests the former, but who really knows? After all, he was duly convicted the first time. But this movie is not a mere crime story. Rather, it offers a character study of man who is as unlikeable as he is fascinating. He does not attract sympathy nor does he solicit it. He insists that he is innocent, and is determined to make his case. The story warrants attention. The downside of this movie is the legal team that represents Mr. Von Bulow. With the exception of Chuck, admirably played by that excellent character actor Alan Pottinger, Mr. Von Bulow's legal team are portrayed as a bunch of self-righteous dilettantes who treat this case like it's a game. Am I supposed to believe that this same legal team could convince a state court of appeals that a guilty verdict, duly arrived at, was wrong? What did the trial judge have to say about that? What I'm suggesting is that there is probably more to this story then what the movie portrayed. One is presumed innocent until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in the case of Claus von Bulow, the defendant is found both guilty and not guilty. Watch the movie and make up your own mind.
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on 6 January 2004
I first watched this film on television but was absolutely captivated by Jeremy Iron's acting and portrayl of Claus Von Bulow. Iron's is expertley cast as the enigmatic aristocrat
and I found myself enthralled by his acting style and performance.
Ron Silver takes an excellent part also.
The moral implications of the trial are explored and you never really know who or what Claus is as a person. Iron's captures
the aristocrats peculiar nature superbly.
I would highly recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of legal dramas/trial movies.
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on 30 May 2010
I watched this movies years ago and couldn't forget the admiration. My second view was the same. Besides the acting by Jeremy Irons which was nothing but perfection, the plot and the structure were impressive. I highly recommend it to anyone who has a good film taste. It is a modern time classic which would be kept in archive.
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on 26 June 2013
Everything about this film works. It is a slow, deliberate, cold and beautiful movie with sharp dialogue.

But we come away from Reversal of Fortune remembering just one thing. Jeremy Irons' performance is sublime. Gripping. Worth watching again and again. Unmissable.
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on 26 March 2013
Beautiful performances. Jeremy Irons is fantastic. The suspense lasts till after the movie, and the hype about the movie is well deserved.
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on 7 January 2013
The film is full of tension and suspense. The study of characters is excellent and the actors playing them superb. Fabulous.
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on 18 June 2016
Fantastic film and, of course, Jeremy irons shines in this. A well deserved Oscar for his role.
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on 17 April 2016
Warning. 4 minutes are missing from the original film. Way to go. Good job UK version!
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