Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Defenseless

Defenseless
Starring:
Barbara Hershey, J.T. Walsh, Mary Beth Hurt, Sam Shepard and Sheree North


Rated: R for nudity and violence
Reviewed by: Frank and Chris  
Release date: August 23, 1991

T.K. Katwuller (Barbara Hershey) is a lawyer who makes a number of paramount mistakes, the first, having an affair with one of her clients, Steven (J.T. Walsh) who claims to be unaware that one of his properties is used to make pornographic movies like Nudes on the Moon. The affair and the defense are moving along well until T.K. runs into her oldSmith College roommate Ellie (Mary Beth Hurt). When Ellie insists on showing her family pictures, T.K. finds out her client is married to the old friend. Ellie insists that T.K. come to dinner and she walks into a strained and tense family atmosphere. The daughter Janna is openly antagonistic toward T.K. and Steven refers to his daughter as Pieface, the same nickname he has used for T.K.

The film is fitted with a number of characters who add to the plot. A violent abusive father who is out to avenge his daughter's pornographic appearances, a prosecutor who is not corrupt, but very ambitious, the daughter who is a material girl, T.K.'s stressed former roommate, and Sam Shepard as the detective on the case. They all become part of the investigation of Steven's brutal murder in his office.

T.K. agrees to defend her friend Ellie when she is accused of the murder of her husband, although she was at the scene of the murder and had a violent bloody fight with; her love just before he was murdered.

Shepard and Hershey and the supporting cast, including Sheree North, who played sexy roles in the 50s, as an abused wife with the stress of life in her face, hold interest both in the mystery of who is the killer and the quality of the characters they play. This is a well staged and well acted suspense film.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Defenseless  A   A                     A 

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