DOUBLE JEOPARDY (1999)
Starring Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Davison, Annabeth Gish, Bruce Campbell, Benjamin Weir, Jay Brazeau, Edward Evanko, Michael Gaston, Gillian Barker, Brennan Elliott and Angela Schneider.
Screenplay by David Weisberg and Douglas Cook.
Directed by Bruce Beresford.
Distributed by Paramount Pictures. 105 minutes. Rated R.
Double Jeopardy would have been a perfectly serviceable little thriller if not for all the monumental leaps of logic and just plain ridiculous plot holes.
Ashley Judd plays the beautiful wife of a tycoon (Bruce Greenwood) who is found alone in a bloodstained boat. She is convicted of her husband’s murder through a lot of circumstantial evidence.
Okay, fine, I’m with you so far. But this is where the plot gets plain absurd.
Through chance, Judd finds out that her husband is actually still alive and sharing the insurance money with her son and her former best friend (Annabeth Gish).
Instead of calling her lawyer, or telling the police… like anyone in the world would do… Judd instead serves the other six years of her sentence, working out and planning revenge. When she gets parole she starts to track them down.
Her parole officer (Tommy Lee Jones, replaying his Fugitive role for what seems the hundredth time) decides to follow her, leaving dozens of other female parolees in his halfway house unsupervised.
Despite the fact that Judd has learned her ex is not trustworthy, when she finally tracks him down she tries to negotiate with him to get their son. When he decides to get rid of her, instead of just killing her, he leaves her buried alive in a crypt… with a gun to give her an even shot of getting loose.
It is too bad that this film was plotted so weakly, because it has a terrific cast and is directed by Bruce Beresford (Breaker Morant, Driving Miss Daisy), a truly talented director. Judd is always a pleasant screen presence, but she can’t rise over the material. Jones is always craggily likable, but he could play this role in his sleep. Greenwood – so powerful in Exotica, St. Elsewhere and The Sweet Hereafter – is given nothing to do but be a big meany.
You can enjoy Double Jeopardy if you turn your mind off, but as soon as you start to think about what is happening, forget it. (9/99)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©1999 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved. Posted: September 24, 1999.