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Just Cause [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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Just Cause is a film that relies on phony plot twists and steals openly from any other thriller that it can remember. If there was a drinking game requiring players to drink during every cinematic "homage", you'd be tanked after its first 45 minutes. Take one case of racial injustice, place it in an exotic, exquisitely photographed location (the Florida Everglades), and bring in an outsider, played by a bankable star, to save the day. Make sure nothing appears as it seems. Add a couple of plot twists, some over-the-top character actors (Ed Harris, shamelessly riffing on Hannibal Lecter), stir, and serve. The big name in this case is Sean Connery, who plays a Harvard law professor summoned to the swamps by an apparently innocent death row inmate (Blair Underwood), who swears he didn't rape and kill that 11-year-old girl. He says he confessed because maverick psycho-cop Tanny Brown (Laurence Fishburne) made him play a solo game of Russian roulette. He says his Serial-killer neighbour on death row (Harris) committed the crime. Connery buys it, the audience buys it, and how could they not? Director Arne Glimcher (who made the lacklustre Mambo Kings) coerces everyone with simplistic plot manipulations. Characters are given no depth, and the actors are pawns moved about like pieces on a Cluedo gameboard. -- Dave McCoy, Amazon.com
Some mystery thrillers keep the mind racing. Some keep the heart hammering. Just Cause does both so powerfully it's "the best thriller since The Silence of the Lambs" (Susan Granger, CRN/American Movie Classics). Sean Connery, Laurence Fishburne, Ed Harris and more top talents ignite the fast-paced nerve-jangler that pumps the adrenaline full throttle and works the gray matter overtime. Connery plays Paul Armstrong, a Harvard Law School professor who reopens a murder investigation on behalf of a Death Row inmate (Blair Underwood) who claims he was forced by a sinister lawman (Fishburne) to confess to a crime he didn't commit. On the surface, it seems to be a straight-ahead case of the prisoner's guilt or innocence. But nothing really lies on the surface of this mystery set in the Florida swamplands. Expect the unexpected. And also expect "a riveting, action-packed thriller! Brimming with suspense." (Neil Rosen, NY-1 News/New York).
Top customer reviews
Eight years after the crime he calls in Paul Armstrong, a professor of law, to help prove his innocence.
Armstrong quickly uncovers some overlooked evidence to present to the local police, but they aren't interested - Bobby was their killer......
Its strange to think that Connery had very few films left in him when this was released, there were a few prolific ones, The Rock, LXG, Entrapment, but it's really strange that he decided to this, because he doesn't really add anything to the film.
Its Fishbourne, and a brilliant Harris, that make this film standout, and compared to them, Connery is left in the stands watching the world go by,which is a shame, because he's usually a wonderful screen presence.
The plot reminds one of those slow burning Bayou thrillers of old, everyone's sweating, wiping their faces, and hiding secrets from one another.
But for the most part, its Connery approaching different characters, asking for his motivation, and then ringing up Kate Capshaw to have an argument.
The final third involves a car chase, crocodiles, and Scarlett Johanssen, but by the time the big twist is revealed, you feel cheated because its basically turned the twist onto a 360, if you would.
Watchable, but pointless, Harris is wonderful...
The plot is clumsy, with lots of "unexpected" twists. When everything is set up for a happy ending and all the loose ends tied up, but only 45 minutes into the film, it's not difficult to predict a major upset on the way.
The film manages to project some of the run-down, seedy ordinariness of small-town Florida, but that's not much of a consolation.
And there are no extras worth mentioning on the DVD. Avoid.
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