It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Andrew Davis' "The Fugitive" is one of the best entertainments of the year, a tense, taut and expert thriller that becomes something more than that, an allegory about an innocent man in a world prepared to crush him.
Like the cult television series that inspired it, the film has a Kafkaesque view of the world. But it is larger and more encompassing than the series: Davis paints with bold visual strokes so that the movie rises above its action-film origins and becomes operatic.
The story involves a cat-and-mouse game between a man unjustly accused of having murdered his wife, and a law officer who tracks him with cunning ferocity. This was, of course, Hitchcock's favorite theme, touching on the universal dread of the innocent man wrongly accused. The man is Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford), a respected Chicago surgeon, who returns home one night to find his wife fatally beaten by a one-armed man who flees after a struggle. All of the evidence points to Kimble's guilt, and his story of the intruder is brushed away in a courtroom scene of such haste and finality that, like a lot of the film, it only looks realistic while actually functioning on the level of a nightmare.
Kimble is sentenced to death, but escapes during a collision between his prison bus and a train. The crash sequence is as ambitious and electric as any I have seen, with Kimble fleeing for his life while a locomotive bears down on him (the echo here is of Ford's famous sequence in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in which he is nearly crushed by a giant stone ball).