This listing is for Under Suspicion VHS Video Tape.
Actors: Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Monica Bellucci, Nydia Caro (II)
Directors: Stephen Hopkins
Format: Color, NTSC
Language: English, Italian, Spanish
Rated: R (Restricted)
Number of tapes: 1
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
VHS Release Date: January 2, 2001
Run Time: 110 minutes
One has to suspect that any film starring and produced by Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman is going to be good. That assumption would not lead to disappointment in this case. This is a terrific psychological crime drama with an excellent story, great acting and powerful directing.
Henry Hearst (Gene Hackman) is a prominent and wealthy citizen of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who found the body of a young girl who had been murdered. Police captain Victor Benezet (Morgan Freeman) is a long time friend of Hearst's and asks him to come down to the station answer some questions and tie up some lose ends. What ensues is a blistering interrogation where it is clear that Hearst is the prime suspect.
The script is smart, probing and full of nuance. Subtle hints in both directions make us continually re-evaluate Hearst's guilt or innocence as the interrogation twists and turns. The ending is a surprise and quite abstruse, requiring some reflection to fathom.
Stephen Hopkins' (Lost In Space) direction is fabulous. The camerawork is excellent, using various perspectives and jump cuts to lend power to the dialogue. I would have liked to see more character development of Captain Benezet to understand his obsessive motivation of trying to nail Hearst. Also, it seems a bit incongruous to have this set in Puerto Rico and have so many obviously American characters. Nonetheless, the work by Hopkins is first-rate overall.
The acting is superb. Morgan Freeman gives a brilliant performance, worthy of an Oscar nomination in my opinion. His dogged pursuit of Hearst never lets up as he is slowly eaten alive by his fixation with proving Hearst is the murderer. Hackman's performance is equally outstanding. His is the most complex and mentally tortured character in the film, and he portrays Hearst like a rat on an electric grid. Italian star Monica Belucci is mysterious and lovely as Hearst's suspicious wife in one of her few American films. The only mediocre performance comes from Thomas Jane as the detective. He is unable to match the rhythm and intensity of the rest of the cast. This part probably should have gone to a Hispanic actor in keeping with the setting.
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