Presumed Innocent | Chicago Reader

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This adaptation of Scott Turow's best-selling novel—about an idealistic prosecutor (Harrison Ford at his best) who becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a colleague (Greta Scacchi) with whom he's had an adulterous affair—is a top-notch courtroom drama that will keep you guessing if you haven't read the book; even if you have, it is still a very well crafted story, directed by Alan J. Pakula (Klute, All the President's Men), who collaborated on the script with Frank Pierson, and effectively shot by Gordon Willis. While it never reaches the level of Anatomy of a Murder, which is probably the high point in this genre, it shares with that film a complex view of the judicial system that makes the multiple plot twists part of an overall vision, and Paul Winfield rivals Joseph Welch in the earlier film by making the most of (read hamming up) his juicy part as the judge. The remainder of the cast—including Brian Dennehy, Raul Julia, Bonnie Bedelia, and John Spencer—are never less than capable, and Pakula and Ford are especially good in handling the nuances of sexual obsession (1990).

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