High Crimes review

Okay, so you've just learned that your partner has been living under a false name for the past 15 years. Not only that, but there's a good chance they're a psychopathic killer. You're suing for divorce faster than J-Lo, right?

Not if you're Claire Kubick (Ashley Judd). She's made of sterner stuff - and, as Hollywood luck would have it, she's also a lawyer. Which is kinda handy considering she's just discovered her husband (Jim Caviezel) is a covert military operative accused of participating in the wanton slaughter of El Salvadorean civilians. All she has to do is roll up her sleeves, grasp her briefcase and go to work, taking to thecourtroom to prove hubby's innocence.

Thing is, the combined might of the US government is piled up against her, meaning Claire's got as much chance of saving her man as Myra Hindley's got of getting parole. Fortunately, though, she's got a few good men on her side (well, two): greenhorn lawyer Lieutenant Terrence Embry (Adam Scott) and ex-military attorney Charles Grimes (Morgan Freeman), a Harley-riding drunkard who's keen to get back at the establishment that canned him years ago.

The Kiss The Girls partnership of Judd and Freeman is not the only thing that looks familiar in Carl Franklin's glossy but cliché-ridden thriller. Caviezel is again content to recycle his Haunted Weirdo act, all gaunt cheeks and pained eyes, while the courtroom action is so ploddingly predictable you half expect Bruce Davison's vindictive general to holler: "You can't handle the truth!" from the witness box. What's more, there's a nagging familiarity to seeing an adequate performance from Judd in a mundane movie. She may have the looks and talent to suggest A-list, but her recent output has included risible serial killer flick Eye Of The Beholder and barf-inducing tearjerkers Where The Heart Is and Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

High Crimes isn't about to change things - - even if it does give us the inimitable Mr Freeman shouting: ""Wake up and smell the napalm!""

A slick but empty potboiler with an ending you can see coming a mile off. Ashley Judd's boringly competent, while director Carl Franklin's excellent One False Move is a dim and distant memory.

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