Double Jeopardy


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Double Jeopardy

It is a mistake for thrillers to be predictable. Once you know what double jeopardy means - they tell you early on - there is only one thing left of interest and that is the chase. Despite an appearance by Tommy Lee Jones, looking older, thicker round the waist and in a worse temper, this is not The Fugitive.

For those who didn't go to law school, double jeopardy means you can't be tried for the same crime twice. When Libby (Ashley Judd) wakes up on her yacht in the middle of a foggy sea, covered in blood, she cries out for Nick (Bruce Greenwood), her husband, who was making soft focus love to her only half a bottle of wine ago.

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He's gone. The coastguard motor launch arrives minutes later and she's accused of his murder. No one bothers to test the blood. No one finds the body. No one believes her story. You know better. You have met Nick and he's a smarmy charmer. You have met Angie (Annabeth Gish) as well. She's Libby's best friend, a kindergarten teacher and seriously sexy. Nick thinks so too. You can tell. Glances are passed.

In America, if you kill someone, you are a) executed after a decade of fruitless appeals, or b) left to rot for life-plus-life. Libby is out on parole after six years, which, even by British standards, is pushing it. She looks great. In fact, she doesn't look any different from the day she went in.

By this time, she knows that Nick is alive. All she wants is her son back. He's a tousled haired Dial-A-Kid, the blond variety in every other Hollywood movie these days. She sets off to find him and, possibly, since she's immune from prosecution, put a bullet in Nick.

Where does Tommy Lee come in? He's on the poster, big fat letters, right at the top. He's boss man at the parole house where Libby goes after being let out, a tough, humourless loner, with emotional baggage you'd rather not unpack. When Libby does a runner - once she gets the sniff of a clue -Tommy Lee comes after her. It's not his job, but he takes it anyway. You want to ask: "Whose looking after the shop when he's away?", but don't. There are so many other questions that need to be answered, such as, why did this film do so well in the States?

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Double Jeopardy packshot
A woman wrongly convicted for the murder of her husband aims for revenge.
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Director: Bruce Beresford

Writer: David Weisberg, Douglas S Cook

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd, Bruce Greenwood, Annabeth Gish, Benjamin Weir, Jay Brazeau, John Maclaren, Ed Edvanko

Year: 1999

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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