Reviewed byclassicalsteveVote: 9/10/10
Anyone who thinks that the United States legal justice system is fairand balanced has been watching too many movies. The poor and themarginalized get convicted and the rich and elite drive away from thecourthouse. It's largely a matter of the size of the pocketbook. Andit's still amazing how many innocent people are locked away with almostno hope of getting out. "Suspect" is how about a how a homeless man(Liam Neesom) and his public defender (Cher) find themselves in a casethat has much larger ramifications than a simple matter of did ahomeless person murder the victim for $9.
The aspect that makes this movie a gem is the fine acting: Cher as theoverworked and underpaid public defender, Liam Neeson as the deaf/mutedefendant in one of his first major roles, Dennis Quaid as a sexylobbyist (often messing around with congresswomen to get votes for hisindustry) turned juror turned amateur sleuth, and John Mahoney as thestoic judge at the trial. A lot of it is pure fantasy but the momentsin the courtroom are actually very much like a real courtroom in itsobsessiveness with procedure and protocol.
The story begins with the suicide of a prominent Supreme Court Justiceand the subsequent murder of his assistant who has been slashed todeath. When police investigate the surrounding area, they find ahomeless man sporting a knife and in possession of the victim's walletwhich contained a king's ransom: $9. Cher is appointed to take thecase, and Quaid ends up becoming one of the jurors. Because of thesuicide at the beginning of the film, Judge Helms (Mahoney) becomes oneof the people on the US President's short list to fill the SupremeCourt vacancy. Helms requests to preside over the murder case to freeup his later schedule in order that he be considered for the vacancy.
Several scenes take us into the bowels of the homeless of WashingtonDC. We see a lot of lawyers, a lot of law libraries and a lot ofknives. Every homeless person appears to wield a knife. Cher with theunlawful help of Quaid (lawyers and jurors in the same trial are notsupposed to commiserate, let alone team up) stumbles upon some evidencethat makes the case much more complex. A thoroughly enjoyable courtroomdrama with enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat, and aninteresting commentary on the justice system and how it handles thepoor and the homeless. Unfortunately, public defenders are probably notas successful as Cher appears to be.
Reviewed bycaa821Vote: 9/10/10
I had missed this film during the many years since it was made, andcaught it by chance on a Friday afternoon, after a particularly longand hectic week.
I thought I might nod off, but instead I found myself engrossed in itvery soon. It has some far-fetched aspects, and as the "goofs" sectionin this site points out, it wouldn't have been tried in a federalcourt, but in the local D.C. courts. However, given the rather surpriseending, this would be a necessary variation, given its circumstances.
Cher is not a person whom you reference when thinking of leading,versatile actresses -- but this isn't so. This serious role, as well asa different type in the excellent "Moonstruck," display both hercompetence and versatility. Dennis Quaid is always excellent, and afavorite of mine, and the remaining cast were as well. John Mahoney'sperformance is well-delivered, and an interesting performance, incontrast with his more pleasant persona in "Moonstruck," also -- andparticularly juxtaposed with his likable presence in the long-running"Frasier" series.
As another pointed-out, there is a surprise ending, if somewhat moreabrupt than seems necessary.
But overall, an interesting, entertaining film.
Reviewed byMickey-2Vote: 8/10/10
This movie version of "Suspect" finds Cher portraying a public defender thathas been given a murder case in which her client, played by Liam Neeson, isdeaf, dumb, and homeless. Unable to verbally communicate in his defense,Neeson has to rely on Cher's ability to search through the evidence to provehis innocence.
Caught up in this courtroom scene is Dennis Quaid, portraying a member ofthe jury that is unable to keep himself from being drawn to Cher. The judgein the trial also appears to have an overly sense of apprehension in thetrial, and seems bent on preventing justice from being served properly.This movie does launch the viewer from one tense situation to another, andthe climatic chase scene in the darkened courthouse does keep youguessing.
A judge commits suicide, and his secretary is found murdered. A homeless deaf-mute man, Carl Anderson is arrested for her murder. Public defender Kathleen is assigned by the court as his lawyer. She sets to find the real killer, and gets help from the congressional advisor, Eddie Sanger who is called to be on the jury panel. Together they discover a dangerous circle of corruption in high places.