Tag Archives: Laura Linney

Primal Fear

A shy young man from Kentucky, Aaron Stampler (by Edward Norton) is the Archbishop’s attendant at Chicago Cathedral. One night, the Archbishop is involved in a disturbance at the Cathedral and he gets brutally murdered. Aaron is involved in this disturbance also and responding Police first spot him not far from the scene, terrified and covered in blood. Aaron flees from Police and due to the Archbishop’s notoriety his capture is broadcast live on television. Martin Vail (by Richard Gere) is a successful, ambitious and high-profile defence lawyer who watches as Aaron’s public capture unfolds live his TV screen. He instantly sees an opportunity to boost his own profile and further his career in Chicago, so he volunteers to defend the hapless but seemingly guilty Aaron who has been unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Assistant District Attorney Janet Venable (by Laura Linney) is assigned to prosecute the case and she has history with Vail. During his pre-trial consultations, Vail suspects that Aaron suffers from a mental disorder which is examined by psychologist Molly Arrington (by Frances McDormand), this threatens to complicate matters, as does the political storm building that involves corruption, sexual abuse, the Archbishop and one of the City’s most influential power brokers, Shaughnessy (by John Mahoney). Is this more than just an open-and-shut murder trial? Can Vail successfully defend Aaron in this high-stakes proceeding but keep the reputations of the other desperate players intact at the same time?

This is a good movie. It’s much more than just a courtroom drama. This is Edward Norton’s acting debut and he hit the benchmark so high that to me he is yet to achieve such magnificence again. His portrayal of the disturbed young country-boy Aaron is excellent, stunning and totally authentic. He is a joy to watch. Richard Gere fits the role of the exquisitely groomed, handsome, rich and flawed Martin Vale perfectly and the role is marvellous for him – there is actually a hint of social conscience here, which is refreshing to see. The movie has a fabulous and totally blind-side twist ending that makes the movie and its legacy even better for the viewer. As always, John Mahoney, Laura Linney and Frances McDormand are solid and excellent in their supporting character roles.  It’s great.

Edward Norton was nominated for an Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Supporting Actor for this role and that is very well deserved.  The drama is based on the novel by William Diehl.

Made in 1996. Directed by Gregory Hoblit

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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Movies


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Mystic River

Jimmy Markum (played by Sean Penn), Sean Devine (by Kevin Bacon) and Dave Boyle (by Tim Robbins) were childhood friends near Mystic River in Boston. Now adults, Jimmy and Dave both still live locally – Jimmy runs a local grocery store and has had a stretch in jail but he’s been out for a while now – he’s raised his three children in the area; Dave is living with his wife and son nearby; but Sean has moved away and is a detective in the NYPD. The apple of Jimmy’s eye, his 19 year old daughter, Katie (by Emmy Rossum), is brutally murdered in the neighbourhood and Jimmy is heartbroken. Sean is assigned to the case with his partner, Whitey Powers (Laurence Fishburne). As the investigation unfolds, Dave appears to be the prime suspect and receives more and more focus from the police. His world begins to crumble as the attention brings painful memories from his youth to the surface once again – 25 years before, the three boys were playing in the street when suddenly Dave was abducted by two men with police badges. He was subjected to days of sexual abuse before he escaped and the trauma has haunted him ever since. Dave’s wife Celeste (by Marcia Gay Harden) has supported him through all his troubles but she’s frightened by his moodiness and depression. Jimmy’s wife Annabeth (by Laura Linney), is devoted to Jimmy but is dealing with her own grief, so she is a bit keener to see a resolution. Sean has moved away from the area to get away from the psychological stress surrounding Dave’s abduction but he has an estranged and emotionally damaged wife, who calls him but never says anything. He loves her and vainly hopes they might be able to reconcile. Jimmy is enraged and is not dealing with any of this very well – he is determined to find his daughter’s killer and deal with him before the cops find him.

Once again, Clint Eastwood delivers a magnificent movie here. The performances are marvellous and the depiction of these damaged characters is superb. Sean Penn is brilliant as the intense Jimmy, Kevin Bacon brings the isolated Sean to life and Tim Robbins is magnificent as the quiet and secretive Dave. Very well done Laura Linney also. Mystic River seems a scary, moody and risky place to be and the entire movie (cinematography, music, characters and dialogue) permeates this into your senses as you watch. It is totally compelling and just haunting.

The movie is based on the 2001 bestseller by Dennis Lehane,  At the 2003 Academy (Oscar) Awards, Sean Penn won the Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Tim Robbins received the Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. 

Made 2003. Directed by Clint Eastwood

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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Movies


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