Presumed Innocent

How could director Alan J. Pakula (Klute, Starting Over) turn the must-read thriller of 1987 into the feel-bad movie of 1990? The tip-off is Harrison Ford’s hairdo — a silly bowl cut that makes the star look like a penitent monk. This is a movie about guilt, you see: Ford’s dogged deputy DA is not only under suspicion for the murder of coworker Greta Scacchi, but he’s also crushed by the memory of their adulterous affair. The other characters have similar palls hanging over them, and the result is a film long on moping and short on momentum. In theaters, where the underplaying was magnified by the big screen, there were rewards in seeing character actors like Brian Dennehy and John Spencer working close to the vest. Watching Presumed Innocent on video, though, is almost as tedious as jury duty itself. C

Presumed Innocent
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