Sargeant “Dutch” van den Broeck (played by Harrison Ford) is a Washington DC cop, happily married to his beautiful wife, Peyton (by Susanna Thompson) who’s a fashion director for an up-market department store. One Friday, Peyton is called away on business at the last minute and leaves a phone message for Dutch to let him know she’ll be away a few days. On the other side of town, Kay Chandler (by Kristin Scott Thomas) is an intelligent and capable candidate for the upcoming election who is totally focussed on her political image and her ambitions to change the world. Kay and her husband are busy professionals who both must travel as part of their jobs and who spend much of their marriage passing like “ships in the night”. On this day, an aircraft crashes into the river in DC but neither Kay nor Dutch take much notice as it’s a flight to Miami, not on the itinerary of either of their partners – until Dutch realises his wife is not yet home. He checks his messages and discovers she may be on the plane. He finds out that she is, in fact, on the plane but she has lied about the reason for her travels. At the same time, Kay discovers her husband is killed in the crash and a series of circumstances leads Kay and Dutch to lean on each other during this very difficult period in their lives.
I like this movie – the drama unfolds well and it is only predictable to a point. Both Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas are great. Ford plays his typical rough-around-the-edges kind of guy, who also has deep sensitivity and Scott Thomas is excellent as the stylish, no-nonsense political animal who is a straight-talker but who won’t admit to any vulnerabilities. I like it because it doesn’t go where you expect it to and doesn’t end in the predictable way. It’s a good drama, but probably a bit too long. There is a parallel (virtually redundant) storyline around Dutch’s work to investigate a murder, but this really only serves to show the audience that he is really a cop. The main interest is with the unfolding story of the partners who have been killed. A good movie.
Made in 1999. Directed by Sydney Pollack