High Crimes (2002) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Crime / Thriller
Fox || PG13 - 115 minutes - $29.99 || September 1, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-10-12


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Carl Franklin
Writer(s): Joseph Finder (novel); Yuri Zeltser & Cary Bickley (screenplay)
Cast: Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Jim Caviezel, Amanda Peet


Theatrical Release Date: April 5, 2002


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 6 Featurettes
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman – stars of the 1997 crime thriller Kiss the Girls – reunite in High Crimes, a ho-hum and predictable military mystery.

The movie is about a wife, Claire (ASHLEY JUDD), whose husband Tom (JAMES CAVIEZEL) has been arrested by the Feds for crimes he has been accused of committing in the mid 80s while on a mission overseas, these crimes include the mass murder of 9 men, women and children. Even after Claire discovers he had been lying about who he was because he changed his name, she stands by him and being a trial lawyer, wants to defend him. But as explained by Tom’s court appointed attorney (ADAM SCOTT), military trials are different and thus she elicits the help of Charles Grimes (MORGAN FREEMAN), a man who has dealt with the military before and knows the ins and outs.

Together, Claire and Charles try to uncover the truth as someone within the military and with knowledge of what really happened, tries to stop her at every turn, including verbal and eventually physical threats. Their investigation leads to one of the military’s top men, Brigadier General Bill Marks (BRUCE DAVISON) and a possible reason for the initial incursion into the small village where the crimes happened.

I said this 7 years ago when I first saw High Crimes and I’ll say it again: although the film features strong performances from Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman and Jim Caviezel, the script unfortunately fell far short with a plot that on the surface was OK, but entirely too predictable. And it’s not that there came one point in the movie where you could figure everything out, instead you kind of know the “twist” from the onset and just wade through side roads and misdirection to get the point you knew the movie was going in from the beginning. Time is precious and to wait 105-minutes to get there, makes the film kind of a waste.

With all that said, and this being probably my third viewing, watching the dynamics between Freeman and Judd was very entertaining and made any flaws in the script tolerable. Obviously having seen it before (and guessing the ending the first go around), I was able to admire the other elements and to that end, I feel it is slightly better but still does not have very good replay value.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All features from the DVD have been ported over and all are presented in full frame or non-anamorphic widescreen. Even though there are six featurettes, together it only totals around 30-minutes...

Feature Commentary – Director Carl Franklin provides a basic, behind-the-scenes featurette on how he got the gig and other little bits of how scenes were shot. This is one track where another participant would’ve made it easier to sit through.

A Military Mystery (7:22) goes over taking the book to the big screen with the author talking about adapting it and the differences between the book and movie and seeing his work in real life.

FBI Takedown in Union Square (3:34) and The Car Crash (2:04) examines how these sequences (where Tom was arrested and the crash) were filmed. The two featurettes could’ve been combined into one...

A Different Kind of Justice (4:58) takes a look at the differences between civilian court and military court.

Liar Liar: How to Beat a Polygraph (5:52) – A polygraph expert talks about the so-called “lie detector” and how the examiners uses tricks to elicit responses but also how the polygraph can be beaten.

Together Again (7:31) is about Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman’s reunion since Kiss the Girls and how much they respect one another. It’s nothing that interesting, but to hear from the two is fun.

Last is the theatrical trailer (2:27).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

High Crimes (2.35 AR, 1080p high-def) looks very good for a 7 year old film, in fact perhaps a little too good. I looked for evidence of edge enhancement but didn’t notice anything (nothing stood out) but the picture looked a little void of natural grain, though I must admit, the picture was still sharp, crisp and well detailed. There are a couple scenes that don’t look too hot (not talking about the flashback scenes which were purposefully overly grainy) but all in all, this is a good transfer.

Fox’s standard 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t anything to boast about but gets the job done none-the-less. The track has a bit of everything from plenty of dialogue to action scenes where a car skids off the road to a mixture of Graeme Revell’s score to some choice (and overly on the button) songs. The audio is nice and makes good use of every channel, but I wasn’t exactly blown away by it either.



.::OVERALL::.

High Crimes is a predictable thriller but might be worth checking out for two good performances from Judd and Freeman, other than that, you can pass this one by as you can figure out where the plot is going within 20 minutes, if not sooner. Good news for those who did like the movie, the HD picture does look great so if you can pick this up in an eventual Wal-Mart bargain bin, might be worth it.