June 28, 2008
Reversal of Fortune
Some of you may know, at one point in my life I thought I'd like to be a lawyer. Not just any lawyer, but the kind you see in movies, the ones who argue with lives in the balance in a packed courtroom. But then, at one point I realized that I truly couldn't live with the idea of convicted an innocent person or setting a guilty one free. So I gave up the thought of becoming one. If I make a mistake, I want it to have much less tragic consequences!
But because of this, I'm a sucker for legal / courtroom films. I always imagine myself in them, because while I don't have any regret, I still think I would have liked being a lawyer.
Interestingly enough, Reversal of Fortune addresses my exact concern, about setting a guilty man free, and makes a pretty good ethical defense of defending someone regardless of whether you know they are innocent.
Based on a book by the famous Alan Derschowitz (one of the defenders of OJ), and telling a true story of how he was able to overturn a a rich man's conviction for the murder of his wife, this film offers no easy answers. It is very similar to Rashomon in that sense, where as an audience you are purposely left without knowing exactly what happened between the accused and his wife.
The film does make a good case for defending a man who might be guilty, and it also gives a great behind the scenes view of what it takes to mount a good legal appeal. it's a tightly written, well acted story, and very enjoyable.
Bonus: You get to watch the voice of Scar from the Lion King, Jeremy Irons, play the accused rich man, Claus Von Burrow. He's excellent, a very complex character. He utters a line here which in the Lion King, created 3 years later, he says in exactly the same way. "You have no idea." Obviously Disney was having some fun with that one.
And speaking of fun, It's fun to watch a young Felicity Huffman in this film.
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