Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Art films can play all the games they want. But if you're going to make a film in a commercial genre, then I think you have to play by the rules of that genre. In the case of a courtroom whodunit, that means you can't produce the guilty man out of left field, with no clues and no preparation. The audience has to have a fair chance to figure things out.
"Suspect" is a well-made thriller, but it was spoiled for me by an extraordinary closing scene where Cher, as the defense attorney, solves the case with all of the logic of a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
The plot involves the murder of a Washington legal secretary. A skid row bum is arrested for the murder, and Cher is the public defender assigned to his case. He is a deaf-mute who has lost all trust in society, but Cher penetrates his defenses and becomes convinced he is innocent. In that case, who committed the murder?
A key clue is provided in the first scene of the movie, which shows a Supreme Court justice committing suicide. Other clues appear from time to time, especially after one of the jurors on the case decides to take things into his own hands. He's played by Dennis Quaid, as a lobbyist who is summoned for jury duty and becomes convinced the defendant didn't commit the crime. He conducts his own private investigation, and feeds clues to Cher.