A person accused of a murder they did not commit. Do to an accident of fate the person escapes custody and is relentlessly pursued by the person who that let them go. Disparate to prove they are innocent the person runs around the country seeking the one man that knows they did not commit the crime. Sounds like the Fugitive doesn't it? In fact if you see some clips of this film youll see Tommy Lee Jones as the pursuing cop. The only fresh twist in this story is the fleeing criminal is a beautiful woman. Ashley Judd plays Libby, a woman that has it all. She has a loving husband, a healthy young son, comfortable finances and a friend that she trusts. While out on a sailboat with hubby she awakes to find herself covered in blood. The boat is covered in blood. She goes up top to find a bloody knife and she picks it up. Why do innocent people in the movies always pick up a bloody knife just as the police are at the door? Unless you can afford the OJ Dream Team leave the knife on the floor! Well, anyway, she is convicted of the murder of her husband and sent to prison. There she finds that her best friend took off with her son and when she tracks her down she hears her son call out to Daddy. Libby realizes that something is not right and that her best friend and supposedly dead husband are living together. Libby is in prison for six years where she learns that if her husband is actually alive she can kill him in front of a million witnesses and the law cant touch her. This is because she already did time for that crime and double jeopardy prevents her being tried for the same crime twice. She gets out on parole and winds up with Tommy Lee Jones as her parole officer. Of course she escapes and he follows.
The talent in this film is centered in the acting rather than writing or direction. Ashley Judd remains one of the best actresses in the movies today. She almost never fails to give the best performance possible even when the script is less than thrilling. This film is a case in point. Ms Judd shows that a talented actor in a bad movie can still give a terrific performance. The same goes for Tommy Lee Jones. The problem with his performance is we have seen it at least twice already in his roles in the Fugitive and U.S. Marshals. The writing for his part was far too restraint and did not afford Mr. Jones with the vehicle to really shin. One real disappointment is the all too brief series of scenes with the best friend played by Annabeth Gish. Ms Gish is a fine actress that was fantastic in things like Last Supper but seems to be burdened with some less than optimal roles like this one and Steel. I hope she gets a better agent and can show her talent in some more interesting roles.
The director of this film is Bruce Beresford. He has done some excellent work such as The Last Dance with Sharon Stone and Paradise Road with Glenn Close. Once again I have to wonder why so much extraordinary talent was draw to such a mediocre film. His direction is interesting but far from his best work. Beresford does very well in films that deal with strong and determined women but this story did not provide the means to his usual excellence. The write David Weisberg also wrote the Rock so it shows that even he can do better than presented here.
The disc is well done. The usual high quality audio and video is present. The box lists this film as being in 1:1.85 aspect but it is actually 1:2.35. The Dolby 5.1 surround provides a full and rather rich sound field. The rear speakers are used for a lot of ambience while the sub woofer is held in reserve for the explosions and crashes towards the end of the film. The pacing is slow and all participants have done better. If you are a Ashley Judd fan youll enjoy it otherwise skip it.