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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Mystery > Court Room > Crime > Media > Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (2009/Anchor Bay Blu-ray + DVD)

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (2009/Anchor Bay Blu-ray + DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-/C+     Extras: C     Feature: C



In 1990, Peter Hyams remade the popular Film Noir Narrow Margin (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and managed to come up with a different take on the tale originally filmed by journeyman director Richard Fleischer (Soylent Green, Mandingo) that balanced suspense and humor with its pace and production values.  It was not a big hit, but now has a following, so he decided to do it again with another RKO Film Noir in Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, originally a 1956 film by master filmmaker Fritz Lang.  Could lightning strike twice?


Michael Douglas (in his first film with Hyams since their underrated 1983 thriller The Star Chamber) plays a very successful prosecutor who may just be too lucky and may even be fixing cases to build his reputation and future.  Most seem convinced except a TV reporter (Jesse Metcalfe) who decides to see if his hunch is correct.  With his reporter friend (Joel David Moore), he decides to set up circumstantial evidence that will get him charged and sent to jail, then he’ll turn around and use this to expose the prosecutor’s guilt.  But something more is wrong and things get worse.


Amber Tamblyn and Orlando Jones also star in this mixed-result remake that ha some good moments, but disappoints overall.  Douglas does not have enough scenes, Metcalfe is not always on target and not enough is done to bring out every possibility Douglas Morrow’s original script offered.  At worse, this is fault, but then you think it will get better, then it goes flat again.  Too bad, because this had potential and the casting was not bad.


Hyams can direct, but has not done a feature since A Sound Of Thunder (2005) was the victim of scandals at Franchise Pictures and Hyams’ The Musketeer (2001) became a near cult film and victim of 9/11 happenings.  This is actually his first outright thriller since Narrow Margin and it does not work.  A curio, it is his first HD shoot and he does not make the transition as expected.  It is also not in a 2.35 X 1 scope frame, the format he thrives in, so see it if you are curious, but expect to have patience.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 image is a little softer than you might expect, even with the 4K RED cameras used throughout.  The Blu-ray makes the shots look better than the anamorphically enhanced DVD, but it also shows flaws that the DVD covers up, like motion blur, some very weak shots and other inconsistencies that is not the RED in action at its best.  The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix on the Blu-ray is a little richer and better than the Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD, but both are not up to Hyams’ films at their sonic best, especially as this has more dialogue than anything else.


Extras in both formats include two brief pieces (The Whole Truth – The Making Of Beyond A Reasonable Doubt and Criminal Forensics – The Burden Of Proof) that should have gone on much longer than they did and a feature-length audio commentary track by Hyams and Metcalf that is not bad at all.  The Blu-ray adds a Digital Copy DVD-Rom so you can download a low-definition copy of the film on PC and PC portable devices.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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