Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Reasonable Doubt

Just released on Blu-ray and DVD is the film we’ve all been waiting for to remind us not to kill people and to not get blackmailed by serial killers. I’m talking about “Reasonable Doubt” of course, but don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it, no one starring in the film seems to know they are in it either.  It stars Dominic Cooper, Samuel L. Jackson and some of the least impressive supporting cast seen, since my primary schools adaptation of “Young Children Crying On Stage In Front Of Their Parents”.


Mitch Brockden (Cooper) is a lawyer with a perfect family, a great job and, just like ever other lawyer in every other film, he’s up for the newly open D.A position. He’s sure to get it to… that is as long as he doesn’t perform a hit and run while drunk and end up entangled in a weird blackmail thing with Samuel L. Jackson and a murder victim. Aside from hit and run shenanigans, Mitch is a self made man and a true ‘Merican, working his way up from a terrible neighbourhood to the perfect life. He’s a good guy with a scumbag brother, who keeps trying to drag him down but eventually ends up saving his life.  All picture perfect and entirely bland. In fact his character’s name was only changed from [Generic Lawyer Number One] after test audiences thought it made him seem too interesting and mistook the lazy writing for satire.


It starts off with a girl looking for her ball so far in the woods, away from where she was playing in the snow, that whoever kicked it needs to apply for their local under 10s football team. Cue Brocken who, after having fifteen too many tequilas, walks out of a bar and gives grief to some children who are standing near his car with intent.  He decides to drive home at a fast speed making sure to kill a man on his way home so he can be blackmailed later. 

From here on in every character seems to be behaving like no person ever.  They frequently walk up to Brockden and say:

Have you got something to tell me that you might have done?” 
You are under arrest for the murder of… that last doughnut” 
Is that a homicide in your pocket? Or are you just pleased to see me do a hit and run last night?
The reports from the lab say that the wounds on the victim’s head indicate that he was killed by a lawyer, probably one looking for the D.A office job and probably with black hair and definitely sitting in the chair beside me.

The film isn’t particularly enjoyable but it kept me watching until the end… barely.  I found the story interesting and Samuel L Jackson is fantastic at being intimidating, as we all know. The script was the weak point though; nothing but cliche after cliche that made it almost unwatchable.  Because the film is about a lawyer, every police officer in the film is shit at their job… and come to think about it, so were all the scriptwriters and directors. Though admittedly the pacing was quite good. All in all Reasonable Doubt feels like a particularly bad law show with Samuel L Jackson in it as a guest star, it was one of the least memorable films I’ve seen, adding less to my life than a handful of wispy hairs.


I’m not sure the film would have felt much different if it was a bunch of non-celebrities shuffling about in suits in front of Samuel L Jackson, while some people read random lines from James Patterson novels at them.

Reasonable Doubt gets a 2/5 cos it’s not very good.

[★★☆☆☆]

Dave Roberts


Reasonable Doubt at CeX



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