A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
Directors like to talk about playing the audience like a piano, about making movies that are efficient machines for assaulting our emotions. "Jagged Edge" is a movie like that, a murder thriller that dangles one clue after another before our eyes, daring us to decide who committed the murder. The machinery in this movie is so efficient that we don't know the answer until the very last shot - and I'll be getting back to that last shot in a moment.
The film stars Jeff Bridges as a powerful San Francisco publisher whose wife is brutally murdered in their isolated oceanside home. After an investigation reveals that he stood to inherit his wife's entire fortune, he is arrested and charged with the murder. Glenn Close plays his defense attorney. At first, she insists she has retired from courtroom cases, but then Bridges convinces her that he is innocent. And before long, she is also convinced that they are in love.
The Close character stands at the center of the film. Is she defending the man she loves against the unjust charges against him? Or is she defending a cold-blooded killer, who might murder her just as he murdered his wife? There are moments in "Jagged Edge" when either of these possibilities seems convincing, but most of the time we just don't know. There's a lot of evidence on both sides.
Close's courtroom opponent is the assistant DA (Peter Coyote). They worked together a few years ago on a case where, she believes, he concealed evidence in order to win a conviction. Is he concealing evidence this time? There comes a time when we think he may be. And by then the film's tension is so tightly wound that we, and Close, don't know what to believe.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
A look at John Sayles' brilliant "The Brother From Another Planet."