Tuesday, September 08, 2015

"Reasonable Doubt" wavers from standard courtroom drama to chase-thriller, but makes its own point

Unreasonable or non-credible coincidence might derail a movie plot, but sometimes very improbable coincidences happen in life.  They call it “being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”  Sometimes moral lessons stem.
That’s the best I can say for the brief thriller “Reasonable Doubt” (2014) from director Peter Howitt (as Peter P. Croudins), which ought to be a courtroom drama, but is so only minimally.
Dominic Cooper plays Mitch, a young assistant DA in Chicago, with a wife (Erin Karpluk) and new baby.  One night, after celebrating with the boys over a courtroom win, he notices possible thieves messing with his car on the street. He was going to take a cab, but decides to “risk it” (a career-ending DUI) driving home.  A police car appears to be following him, but as he turns onto a dark side street, the police cruiser and its blue lights flash, but suddenly he feels the thump of hitting a pedestrian. He tries to call 911 on his cell phone, which doesn’t work, so does so on a nearby payphone.  Then he leaves the scene.
Through a very unlikely coincidence, the police soon arrest Clinton Davis (Samuel L. Jackson) who had tried to take the victim (who dies) to the hospital.  Cooper has to manipulate the trial, assigned to him, to get the “innocent” Davis off, since Cooper knows he had hit the victim.  But Clinton seems to have unusual knowledge of the circumstances, and soon Cooper learns that Davis is on a vigilante mission, to go after parolees, after someone on parole had killed his family in a home invasion.
The movie turns into a typical chase thriller. At the end, there is a confrontation where Clinton Davis challenges Cooper to prove he is a real man who can protect his family.  That’s useful, but I wondered, what if one’s family wasn’t one that one created with procreation, but “inherited” as an obligation – to care for parents or siblings?  Would the same moral apply?

The action in the film runs only 80 minutes, and the slow-moving end trailer is fully 10 minutes.

The official purchase site (Lionsgate) is here
The interiors in the film (and rural snow scenes) were filmed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and the DGC film was financed with Canadian and German sources. The film is available on DVD from Netflix. The film can be rented on YouTube for $3.99. 
Wikipedia attribution link for aerial photo of Chicago by Payton Chung, under Create Commons 4.0 (and all levels) license (international and unported). 

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