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Edward norton does an excellent job
5/10 I had just gotten done seeing the movie Fight Club when a relative of mine said " If you like that movie, you'll like Primal Fear." I didn't believe him, because I had believed that Fight Club was the best movie on the face of the planet. Well, he just so happened to have a copy of Primal Fear with him. I watched it and was amazed. I was speechless.The movie has so many twists! I was convinced that it was one of the best movies I had ever seen. Gere's performance is average. I say this because it seems that in many movies he plays the same cocky character. Linney's monologue in the courtroom is mesmerizing . It was just great. And Norton? Well this may be one of his best performances ever. The fact that this was made during the starting of his acting career was unbelievable. It was a great film and Edward norton does an excellent job5 years ago
The birth of a star and the resurrection of another
5/10 It's not often that viewers get a chance to watch a star being born - that a5 years ago
talented unknown actor's performance that is so spectacular it leads to the A-list in one role is rare: Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Brad Pitt in Thelma & Louise to name a recent few. But Edward Norton's turn as the "defendant/victim" in Primal Fear is one of those "Wow" moments that leaves the audience salivating for his next performance. In this feature debut, Norton outdistances his role, as does Richard Gere, in a resurrection no less impressive than Norton's star-making turn. Heretofore, Gere has specialized in assorted intelligent professional cad roles. Here, he gets a
chance to inhabit one that not only wears his dubious character on his sleeve, but wears it, drives it, drinks it... revels in it. Yeah, sure somewhere there's a heart of gold, but like his client, the layers on top serve him better, and the heart of gold is tarnished. Gere is at his peak, comfortably, cheerfully inhabiting the role.
Laura Linney deserves extra credit for often being the ice-queen foil which propels the two male characters' development; her own character is rather one- dimensional, but she herself squeezes as much dazzle as she can from it. Even though everyone else obviously falls for whatever Gere's Vail purrs into their ears, it's merely enough time for Linney's Janet to get a drag on her ubiquitous cigarette; another step in what will (hopefully) someday be film's love affair with her. Wasted, sadly, are fine character actors like John Mahoney, Steven Bauer, Maura Tierney & Andre Braugher who could have lit up the screen had they not been handed scripts with generic character stereotypes.
See it to watch the ascension of Norton and Gere.
Not just another court room drama
8/10 I was convinced that "Primal Fear" would be the type of courtroom drama that Hollywood seems to use to pave the streets with. You know what I mean: Someone gets wrongly accused of some mischief, he can't pay a lawyer, but of course there is one who is really interested in the case and he is prepared to defend the poor guy anyway. The defender finds some wholes in the police investigation or in the statement of the other party and knows to prove the innocence of his client and even get a big indemnity. Well, I was wrong, for once this was a courtroom drama that had a bit more to offer than the usual story line and twists. In fact, this was even a very enjoyable movie.5 years ago
Even though I'm not really a fan of Richard Gere (I'm not a woman, so no I don't like him because the way he looks, I only look at his acting), I have to admit that this time he really did a very good job as the slick, media-friendly, arrogant lawyer Martin Vail. Still, in my opinion the real star in this movie is Edward Norton. He's really excellent as the altar boy who is accused of murdering a Catholic bishop.
For once the story isn't as predictable as usual. At first the case seems rather clear: an altar boy is running away from the home of the bishop, with blood all over his clothes. No doubt about it you think, he did it, case closed, next movie! But than the first interesting twist in the movie appears: Yes, he was at the murder scene, but he can't remember anything about the grisly murder, because at that exact moment he got a blackout. He's convinced that there was a third person in the room. That third person must have killed the bishop, he's innocent. His lawyer tries to prove the third man theory in the court room, but as the process comes nearer to the end, some new evidence will make everything a lot clearer and more interesting...
As I already said, this movie is more than just worth a watch, thanks to the rather innovative story line and characters. For once, this movie didn't annoy me more than I could ever like it. That's already worth a lot, so I give it a well deserved 8/10.
Edward Norton Shines
8/10 In this strong, twisting court room crime drama thriller, a young Edward Norton shines with this performance that makes the movie a strong, unsettling movie. The dynamic tension between Richard Gere and Laura Linney lends to the underlying swirling dance of political and emotional turmoil that lies beneath the surface of District Attorney and high-profile attorney Gere. While by today's standards (2006) the storyline is now pretty typical, it retains a resonance because of the plot and storyline as well as the acting. Still, the edges of the movie are almost too polished. Some of the technical matters overlooked. Alfre Woodard has a credible role as the courtroom judge and Frances McDormand provides a decent hand as a psychologist (though this key role was a bit weak in comparison to the rest of the movie in terms of the crucial nature that it plays). Gere's tangled relationship with his own team is also fascinating to watch though again a bit torn and tattled with a few lose ends but the supporting cast does well. Overall, this is a solid courtroom crime drama with a nice ripping ending. Eight out of Ten Stars.5 years ago
Meet Edward Norton
5/10 Outstanding thriller on par with "The Usual Suspects", "Primal Fear" is an impressive film about one lawyer's (Richard Gere) yearning for the spotlight. He gets his wish after an archbishop is brutally murdered in Chicago. It appears that choir boy Edward Norton (in his first film, Oscar-nominated) is the killer, but there is more to this case than meets the eye. In the end, Gere is going to learn that what he thinks he wants (fame and fortune) is not all that great because of what he has had to go through to get there. "Primal Fear" was one of the more interesting films of 1996, but was ignored by almost everyone. Richard Gere does some of his best work ever. Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, and Frances McDormand are all good in supporting roles. However, it is Edward Norton who proved to be the discovery of the 1990s. He keeps the audience on their toes and he adds depth and emotion to a film that would have looked much different if he had not been in it. 4.5 out of 5 stars.5 years ago