High Crimes

on April 05, 2002 by Tim Cogshell
   Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman first teamed for the serial killer thriller "Kiss the Girls," an adaptation of the James Patterson novel. The book was good, the stars were good--the film was not. Reunited for the military courtroom drama "High Crimes," an adaptation of a novel by Joseph Finder, neither they nor the movie fare particularly well.

   The film is a retreaded combination of better movies, "A Few Good Men" and "Courage Underfire" among them. Clarie (Judd) is a high-powered attorney whose husband ("The Count of Monte Cristo's" Jim Caviezel) is an AWOL marine accused of a horrible mass-murder. He claims he was set up by his commanding officer and a powerfully placed general. But is he telling he truth? Claire enlists the help of an ex-JAG attorney, Charles Grimes (Freeman), currently on the wagon for 432 days. Grimes was apparently quite brilliant in his profession, but a little too free-spirited for the Corp. Now he mostly wears leather jackets, tools around on a motorcycle and bails out hookers.

   The performances are as trite as the material demands. Even the magnificent Freeman treads on well-worn characterizations--including several of his own. Judd's character is familiar: strong yet passionate, sexy yet smart, capable yet vulnerable--she's played this one more than once as well. Only the unabashed Amanda Peet ("The Whole Nine Yards"), in the thankless role of Claire's loose younger sister, seems to be trying something new. She is at least having fun. Everything else about “High Crimes” is, like the military system of justice it portrays, tiresomely regimented. Starring Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, James Caviezel, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet and Michael Gaston. Directed by Carl Franklin. Written by Yuri Zeltser and Grace Cary Bickley. Produced by Jesse Beaton, Arnon Milchan and Janet Yang. A Fox release. Drama. Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language. Running time: 115 min

Tags: Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, James Caviezel, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet and Michael Gaston, Directed by Carl Franklin, Written by Yuri Zeltser, Grace Cary Bickley, Produced by Jesse Beaton, Arnon Milchan, Janet Yang, A Fox release, Drama, leather, hookers, passionate, military

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