Richard Stengel
March 16, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

An Innocent Man

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
F. Murray Abraham, Tom Selleck
director
Peter Yates
genre
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C+

Tom Selleck is a devotee of the less-is-more school of acting. But sometimes, as seen here, less is just less. In An Innocent Man, Selleck plays an airplane mechanic callously framed by two rogue cops who mistake him for a drug dealer. The idea is that Selleck is just your Everyman and that such a nightmarish turn of events could happen to you. But it’s hard to imagine any man, much less every man, reacting with such staunch stoicism.

The early part of the movie, including a simpleminded courtroom scene, is unconvincing. But it gains power when Selleck arrives at ”the joint.” Prison is a merciless, Hobbesian place, relieved only by Selleck’s tough-on-the-outside, kind-on-the-inside mentor (darkly played by F. Murray Abraham, employing an unidentifiable though vaguely Southern accent). The prison scenes are graphic and harrowing and give the movie a solid center. But the action is weighed down by the implausible mechanics of Selleck’s revenge — in which he traps the cops in a drug deal — and the often trite dialogue (”I’m tryin’ to do you a solid,” Abraham snarls).

Still, Selleck shows a fair amount of derring-do and the plot moves along in a workman-like way. C+

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