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   DOUBLE JEOPARDY (1999) 

[Get the Poster]

CAST
Ashley Judd
Tommy Lee Jones
Bruce Greenwood
Annabeth Gish
Jay Brazeua
John McLaren
Gillian Barber

DIRECTED BY
Bruce Beresford

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 120 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Mystery/Thriller


The only reason I went to see this film was because of Ashley Judd. I don't know why, but I just really like her as an actress. She's pretty, yet smart, strong, yet feminine. It's hard to find that in an actress these days. She also tends to choose interesting characters. Unfortunately, in the case of DOUBLE JEOPARDY the role is the best thing about the film. This is a by-the-numbers thriller that has very few actual surprises. In fact, I can't really remember anything that was unexpected. The only moment that had any tension was the one where she wakes up covered in her husbands blood and has no idea what happened to him. From that point on, a 3rd grader could have told you what was going to happen. The film makes no secret of the fact that even though she went to prison for killing her husband, she's really innocent of the crime. The main reason we know this is because we see that he's alive. They show that in the trailer. Hello. Maybe that would have been interesting to find out while I was watching the MOVIE. Another nice little twist ruined by previews.

Granted it's not a huge stretch of the imagination to figure out that he's still among the living, but it's one of the few surprises this movie has. After serving her 6 year sentence, she's determined to find out where he is so she can reclaim her son, Matty. He's the one thing that kept her going during those years and she's not about to let her scum bag husband keep him away from her one minute longer. The search for her son is the main thrust of the film and I'm sorry, but it's just not enough to make a movie interesting. Granted, I might feel differently if I was a mother framed for a murder I didn't commit and torn away from my young child. Though I doubt it. Tommy Lee Jones plays her parole officer, a man who's lost everything – a promising career as a law professor and his family – to a drinking problem. In the beginning, he's unimpressed with her story. He believes she's like every other ex-con he's come across. When she disappears, it's his job to bring her back. However, her passion for her son and her story soon get under his skin and he ends up trying to save her from herself and the continued murderous impulses of her husband.


"I don't want to kill you, Nick, I just want you to suffer."

This film is at some points more travelogue than thriller. Colorado and New Orleans never looked so enticing. If I were on the lamb those are two destinations that would be high up on my list to hide out. Judd tries to give her escape and search an urgency, but I just didn't feel it. Maybe if she had more scenes with her son, I would have felt the connection. One moment of fishing and talking about sailing is just not enough. Jones is completely wasted in this movie. He's given nothing to do except chase after her, which isn't all that exciting in the first place. On top of that, he never really uncovers anything the audience doesn't already know. The one great thing about this movie is the fact that Judd refuses to be pushed around by anybody. She does whatever is necessary to keep her dream alive and if that means trashing other peoples cars and stealing from rich women, than so be it. She really gets to damage a lot of stuff and that's not something women in film get to do very often.

On the flip side, there are moments that I was slightly disappointed in her character, especially when she trusted that snake she called a husband. He's obviously a professional liar, so why would he be honest with you unless you had a gun to his head. One can argue that her love for her son blinded her, but if someone did what he did to me, I'd shoot first and ask questions later. People are amazingly truthful when threatened with bodily harm. I also found the very end, to be a 90s cop out. Nobody ever thought bad of Dirty Harry when he gave the bad guy what he deserved. Revenge may be wrong, but sometimes it feels so good. If you like Ashley Judd, you may enjoy this movie, but I wouldn't race to the theater to watch it.



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