Primal Fear

1996

Crime / Drama

68
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Fresh 74%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 89%
IMDb Rating 7.7

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Richard Gere as Martin Vail
Laura Linney as Janet Venable
Edward Norton as Aaron
John Mahoney as Shaughnessy
720p
549.12 MB
1280*720
English
R
English
23.976 fps
2hr 9 min
P/S 9 / 109

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by petra simpson 5 / 10

The birth of a star and the resurrection of another


It's not often that viewers get a chance to watch a star being born - that a
talented unknown actor's performance that is so spectacular it leads to the A-list in one role is rare: Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Brad Pitt in Thelma & Louise to name a recent few. But Edward Norton's turn as the "defendant/victim" in Primal Fear is one of those "Wow" moments that leaves the audience salivating for his next performance. In this feature debut, Norton outdistances his role, as does Richard Gere, in a resurrection no less impressive than Norton's star-making turn. Heretofore, Gere has specialized in assorted intelligent professional cad roles. Here, he gets a
chance to inhabit one that not only wears his dubious character on his sleeve, but wears it, drives it, drinks it... revels in it. Yeah, sure somewhere there's a heart of gold, but like his client, the layers on top serve him better, and the heart of gold is tarnished. Gere is at his peak, comfortably, cheerfully inhabiting the role.


Laura Linney deserves extra credit for often being the ice-queen foil which propels the two male characters' development; her own character is rather one- dimensional, but she herself squeezes as much dazzle as she can from it. Even though everyone else obviously falls for whatever Gere's Vail purrs into their ears, it's merely enough time for Linney's Janet to get a drag on her ubiquitous cigarette; another step in what will (hopefully) someday be film's love affair with her. Wasted, sadly, are fine character actors like John Mahoney, Steven Bauer, Maura Tierney & Andre Braugher who could have lit up the screen had they not been handed scripts with generic character stereotypes.

See it to watch the ascension of Norton and Gere.

Reviewed by tabuno 8 / 10

Edward Norton Shines

In this strong, twisting court room crime drama thriller, a young Edward Norton shines with this performance that makes the movie a strong, unsettling movie. The dynamic tension between Richard Gere and Laura Linney lends to the underlying swirling dance of political and emotional turmoil that lies beneath the surface of District Attorney and high-profile attorney Gere. While by today's standards (2006) the storyline is now pretty typical, it retains a resonance because of the plot and storyline as well as the acting. Still, the edges of the movie are almost too polished. Some of the technical matters overlooked. Alfre Woodard has a credible role as the courtroom judge and Frances McDormand provides a decent hand as a psychologist (though this key role was a bit weak in comparison to the rest of the movie in terms of the crucial nature that it plays). Gere's tangled relationship with his own team is also fascinating to watch though again a bit torn and tattled with a few lose ends but the supporting cast does well. Overall, this is a solid courtroom crime drama with a nice ripping ending. Eight out of Ten Stars.

Reviewed by Philip Van der Veken 8 / 10

Not just another court room drama

I was convinced that "Primal Fear" would be the type of courtroom drama that Hollywood seems to use to pave the streets with. You know what I mean: Someone gets wrongly accused of some mischief, he can't pay a lawyer, but of course there is one who is really interested in the case and he is prepared to defend the poor guy anyway. The defender finds some wholes in the police investigation or in the statement of the other party and knows to prove the innocence of his client and even get a big indemnity. Well, I was wrong, for once this was a courtroom drama that had a bit more to offer than the usual story line and twists. In fact, this was even a very enjoyable movie.

Even though I'm not really a fan of Richard Gere (I'm not a woman, so no I don't like him because the way he looks, I only look at his acting), I have to admit that this time he really did a very good job as the slick, media-friendly, arrogant lawyer Martin Vail. Still, in my opinion the real star in this movie is Edward Norton. He's really excellent as the altar boy who is accused of murdering a Catholic bishop.

For once the story isn't as predictable as usual. At first the case seems rather clear: an altar boy is running away from the home of the bishop, with blood all over his clothes. No doubt about it you think, he did it, case closed, next movie! But than the first interesting twist in the movie appears: Yes, he was at the murder scene, but he can't remember anything about the grisly murder, because at that exact moment he got a blackout. He's convinced that there was a third person in the room. That third person must have killed the bishop, he's innocent. His lawyer tries to prove the third man theory in the court room, but as the process comes nearer to the end, some new evidence will make everything a lot clearer and more interesting...

As I already said, this movie is more than just worth a watch, thanks to the rather innovative story line and characters. For once, this movie didn't annoy me more than I could ever like it. That's already worth a lot, so I give it a well deserved 8/10.

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