Primal fear [Film] = Zwielicht

dir. by Gregory Hoblit ; based on the novel by William Diehl ; screenplay by Steve Shagan and Ann Biderman

Clever twists and a bona fide surprise ending make Primal Fear an above-average courtroom thriller. Tapping into the post-O J scrutiny of the American legal system in the case of a hotshot Chicago defence 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 capitalises on his shifty screen persona and Laura Linney and Frances McDormand give memorable performances in their intelligently written supporting roles.

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