: : : Primal Fear

Story

Clever twists and a bona fide surprise ending make this an above-average courtroom thriller, tapping into the post-O.J. scrutiny of our legal system in the case of a hotshot Chicago defense attorney (Richard Gere) whose latest client is an altar boy (Edward Norton) accused of murdering a Catholic archbishop. The film uses its own manipulation to tell a story about manipulation, and when we finally discover who's been pulling the strings, the payoff is both convincing and pertinent to the ongoing debate over what constitutes truth in the American system of justice. Making an impressive screen debut that has since led to a stellar career, Norton gives a performance that rides on a razor's edge of schizophrenic pathology--his role is an actor's showcase, and without crossing over the line of credibility, Norton milks it for all it's worth. Gere is equally effective in a role that capitalizes on his shifty screen persona, and Laura Linney and Frances McDormand give memorable performances in their intelligently written supporting roles. --Jeff Shannon

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen

Cast

Richard GereMartin Vail
Laura LinneyJanet Venable
John MahoneyShaughnessy
Alfre WoodardShoat
Frances McDormandMolly
Edward NortonAaron
Terry O'QuinnBud Yancy
Andre BraugherTommy Goodman
Steven BauerJoey Pinero
Joe SpanoAbel Stenner
Tony PlanaMartinez
Stanley AndersonArchbishop Rushman
Maura TierneyNaomi Chance
Jon SedaAlex
Reg RogersJack Connerman
Kenneth TigarWeil

  • Genre: Mystery Movies
  • Director: Gregory Hoblit
  • Producer: Paramount
  • Length: 129 minutes
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaApr 3, 1996
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe18
    AustraliaMA
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaDec 12, 2003
    EuropeJul 2, 2001
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4.0 / 10
Rate
(0.0688/d/web7)