|Spanish subtitles Witness||one year ago|
|English subtitles Witness||one year ago|
|Croatian subtitles Witness||3 years ago|
|Greek subtitles Witness||4 years ago|
|Bulgarian subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|Arabic subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|Chinese subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|Greek subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|Chinese subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|Chinese subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|Spanish subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|Brazilian Portuguese subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|Serbian subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|Turkish subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|English subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|Indonesian subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|Dutch subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
|Farsi/Persian subtitles Witness||5 years ago|
One Of The Best Crime Moves Ever
10/10 You want to know how to make a successful movie? Just look here. You have tremendous suspense, a top-flight popular actor as the hero, a touching romance story, plenty of action, a different kind of setting than normal, people you care about, nice photography, very moral and very immoral people, a little humor.....I mean, this is how it's done.5 years ago
I also appreciated seeing Amish people (of which I am not) portrayed in a better light than secular Hollywood usually puts them. I also liked the wholesome female lead Kelly McGillis (although she was the only Amish character out of character, a bit loose than what you would ever find) and who didn't think young Lukas Haas was the cutest kid they ever saw on film?
Harrison Ford gives a typical solid performance as John Book, a Philadelphia detective who winds up protecting the young boy ("Samuel Lapp"), his mom (McGillis as "Rachel Lapp") and others against crooked cops (Hollywood's favorite kind). Along the way, he is near-fatally shot and winds up being cared for and living in the Amish community in which the Lapps reside. During that time, we also have the blossoming romance between the two leads and then a dramatic shootout at the end when the cops find out where "Book" is staying.
There are many memorable scenes in this movie, from the boy hiding in the bathroom stall as a murder takes place; Ford slugging some goon who was making fun of the Amish; Ford and McGillis dancing in the hayloft to an old rock 'n roll tune; the Amish lifestyles and the raising of the barn; and the suspenseful ending.
This is a great stuff: one of the best crime stories of the "modern age" and one of the few "R-rated" films that reached this high a popularity.
"You be careful out among the English."
8/10 It all starts off when a beautiful Amish widow takes her little son Samuel from their home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to visit her sister in Baltimore and try to get over her grief...5 years ago
While passing through Philadelphia, and on entering alone a men's restroom in a train station, Samuel glances up to see two men advancing with unmistakable menace toward a young man... He caught sight of the face of one of the two attackers who killed him...
As the plot becomes more intricate, and through a series of interesting events, detective John Book finds himself forced to protect the shy eight-year-old boy and his helpless mother... He disappears for some days in the Amish Country...
Harrison Ford stars as a fugitive cop who is initially unwelcome in a community he knows a little about... He tries to learn the importance of family and community, the philosophy of brotherhood and non-resistance... He becomes involved in a case that will essentially change his human perceptions... And later, he finds himself falling in love with a sensitive young woman...
Kelly McGillis is captivating as Rachel, a woman who feels a shadow of confusion crossing her mind... She stares at the honest cop, realizing the price he's paid in returning them to safety...
In one scene she catches him watching her bath... She hesitates for a moment, but in that precise moment she makes a choice... Slowly she turns to face him, topless, without shame... For a moment she attempts a tender effort to become, for an instant, a woman of his world...
In another scene we see her playing the charade of her life... Bound by duty, but tempted by desire, she leaves her white cap - symbol of her identity - on the table, and surrenders to a passion, that makes her sensual nature say it all...
Lukas Haas is very fine as the cute kid in the black coat and hat... He slowly raises his hand to point at the black and white photograph... This nice boy remains untouched by the violence interposed into his peaceful world...
Jan Rubes is believable as Rachel's father-in-law Eli... He is torn by conflicts between faith, discipline, dedication and humility... He tries his best to protect what's left of his family from the pressures of the outside world... It's pretty clear he doesn't like this Englishman wearing the clothes of his faith... For him his daughter-in-law has brought fear to his house... and now she is dancing to English music!
Alexander Godunov brings a solid performance to the role of Daniel, Rachel's discarded suitor... It's no surprise that he wants the disappearance of the policeman... Book's tempting presence will only weak his chance with Rachel... In one remarkable scene and on a road running parallel to the train track, he urges his horse almost to the gallop as he attempts to keep pace with the train...
It is quite interesting to see Danny Glover as a crooked cop, who's corrupt and evil... But the heart of the movie is a study of the Pennsylvania Amish through the eyes of an outsider suddenly introduced into their life... Peter Weir tries to paint a realistic portrait of the Amish who are best known for their severely 'plain clothing' and their 'non-conformed' way of life... The Amish also avoid telephones and electric lights and drive horses and buggies rather than cars...
Weir delivers a powerful and romantic story, an engaging film of different style, mixing two different cultures, the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle with the urban culture and fashion... The music and cinematography work beautifully to impart all the emotions of the characters...
'Witness' (won Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Original Screenplay. Nominations for Best Actor (Ford), Art Direction, Cinematography, Director, Score and Best Picture..) is quiet provoking.. thrilling and entertaining.. I highly recommend it..
If you look carefully, you'll spot Viggo Mortensen in his screen debut.. as Moses Hochleitner, Daniel's little brother...
7/10 This is one of those movies whose virtues and subtleties become more and more apparent with subsequent viewings. The crime story is nothing more than a pretense - a "MacGuffin", in Hitchcock's phrase - on which to hang this sensitive and insightful story of the conflict between modernity and the culture of the Amish, which is portrayed here with admiring respect and not a hint of condescension.5 years ago
Harrison Ford's portrayal of John Book is perhaps his finest work on screen so far. In particular, Book's struggle to suppress his rising attraction for Rachel, and his tormented realization that a relationship between them is not possible, is achingly portrayed. Ford's effort is well-matched by Kelly McGillis, whose beauty here is almost breathtaking. The erotic interplay between them, because it is unconsummated, radiates an almost painful tension, and the easily lampooned "running through the field" scene - because it has been led up to so convincingly - is almost heartbreaking. The character of Eli Lapp, wonderfully played by Jan Rubes, is richly multifaceted. His suspicion of the "English" outsider and his anger at Rachel's attraction to him, is surmounted by an underlying humanity. His parting words to Book, "You be careful out there among them English," are moving testimony to his acceptance of him. His stern yet loving dialogue to his grandson about renouncing hatred and violence is a treasured moment.
Both direction and cinematography are splendid. The simplicity of Amish interiors is shot in a way that makes its austerity almost beautiful, and the barnraising scene is an exercise in cinematic lyricism.
It would be easy to fault the movie for the facile scene in which the punks taunting of Book's newfound friends and protectors drives him over the edge (Eli: "It's not our way, Book" Book: "No, but it's MY way."), but his gift to the young thug of a bloody nose is mighty satisfying to behold.
My one criticism is with the music; certainly not with the venerable Maurice Jarre's score itself, but with its paltry synthesized realization. They should have found the money to spring for a full orchestra.
In short, a highly satisfying, richly themed, and multifacted film which is well worth watching.
Regarding the accents...
9/10 I would like to clear up a couple of comments made by movieguy1021, who wrote:5 years ago
"One thing I didn't understand is how come everyone seemed to use such strong accents yet they've been living in America for a long time."
Most Amish communities mainly speak Pennsylvania Dutch, which is a dialect of German, hence the accents in the film. Amish children learn English in school.
"Also, although I may not be the end-all, be-all of Amish knowledge, it seems like for people so strict in their rules, they broke them easily. They didn't seem to object to riding in trains or cars, or even using technology."
The Amish accept some forms of modernisation as long as it is not deemed disruptive to their social structure. Some forms of primitive technology are accepted in their community, such as devices that assist with milking cows. Likewise they accept rides in cars, but members of the community cannot own them.
not so flawed...
5/10 An earlier comment on the site suggests that the film is flawed because the Amish boy, coming from a secure, peaceful environment, would not be able to witness a scene of brutality without becoming utterly traumatised.5 years ago
Far from being a flaw, I believe this is a key statement of the theme of the film - that the close, peaceful and loving upbringing he has enjoyed provide the boy with an emotional strength and resilience that allows him to recognise evil and reject it. Later that same environment will provide the embittered and emotionally scarred with a temporary oasis where he can in part recover from the loveless violence of his own life.
Contrast the failure of community in the vast and soulless terminal building, where the first scene is set, where every one is isolated by the indifference and aggression of their fellow travellers, with the co-operative endeavour of the justly famous barn raising scene, where even the outsider is welcomed and included in an act of joint creation.