Directed by Bruce Beresford
A woman is wrongly convicted of her husband’s murder only to find out that the person even she thought was dead is still alive and framed her. She then plots to get out on parole and track him down to kill him for real.
Ashley Judd stars as the framed Libby Parsons. She was good overall in this film but when it came time for the scenes between her and her character’s son Matty or even mentions of the child they just never connected emotionally. She just was not convincing as a mom. There was all the warmth of someone pretending to like kids just to get through the situation. She was the fourth or so choice for this role and either they should have kept going or maybe even just eliminated the kid. Unfortunately that would create an issue with the insurance scam aspect of the story so maybe the decided against a hasty rewrite.
Tommy Lee Jones is good as the disgraced law professor turned parole officer Travis Lehman who at first disbelieves our heroine only to become convinced that she is telling the truth. In a movie like this eventually one key figure comes around, but his change of heart seems a little fast and perhaps even casual. It was difficult for me to point to the exact moment it happened.
One other thing I take issue with is they never expound upon what caused Tommy Lee Jones’s character to become disgraced. They give a couple of possibilities from some rumormongering parolees at the facility he runs but there is nothing concrete stated. At least not that I caught. You see a picture of his daughter but what exactly her status is never explained. That does bug me.
Some have taken issue with their interpretation of Double Jeopardy here. Give me a break! It is a movie and movies are not often that anchored in reality. If they had played it safer then we would not have a film, would we? Hollywood produces entertainment and not educational material. Fact check a documentary or a historical drama and not a complete work of fiction. Leave deciding on the quality of a plot point to the audience.
The movie is strongest when Judd is tracking down her still living husband and following the trail to him and her child. It is anchored in the emotion of that moment in these instances. Libby uses her cunning to gather information and proves surprisingly adept at getting away from her pursuers for someone that appears to have lived a very upper-class life until her conviction. Either she had some hood in her or somebody cut a scene.
There are no big shocks in this movie because you go in knowing that Libby’s husband Nick (Bruce Greenwood) is really alive somehow and that she went to prison because she was framed. The interest comes from how she actually finds him and enacts her revenge. She uses what information she does have on him to track him down through various means and a few creatively deceptive methods.
Nick has apparently been making a habit of pretending to be other people and then moving on after faking his death (with the occasional murder) which adds to the difficulty of tracking him down. One thing that gets me though is she tracks him down to New Orleans in his latest identity. Having a new identity is not the issue. The issue is he has apparently been putting on a Cajun style accent while in New Orleans. If you do a fake regional accent while in that region people will pick you up as a fraud in a heartbeat. How nobody called him out I do not know.
This film is not a quality project. It is a guilty pleasure. While I did enjoy Double Jeopardy, this is basically a lifetime movie plot with better production values. And that is okay. It is an enjoyable movie. It is not a sophisticated thriller, but it is an enjoyable thriller. It is worth at least one watch with someone. Future viewings will occur, and they will probably be on some quiet day when you cannot decide on what to watch. Put it in and enjoy.