Rated: R for obscenities and explicit language describing sex crimes. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: February 17, 1995 Released by: Warner Brothers
Sean Connery stars as a Harvard law professor who is asked to check into the case of a Florida death row prisoner convicted of murdering an 11-year-old girl in 1986.
By reopening the case, Paul Armstrong (Connery) meets with a lot of resistance, especially form Laurence Fishburne who plays a tough local cop who thinks Bobby Earl Ferguson (L.A. Law's Blair Underwood) is guilty.
Ferguson is a clean cut, good-looking black man who attended college on a full scholarship. He's a puzzling personality who claims that he confessed to the grisly murder only because the sheriff threatened him with a loaded gun. But Armstrong thinks Ferguson is innocent and suspects another death row prisoner (Ed Harris) might have committed the crime.
The Everglades setting helps add an eerie, dramatic backdrop to the mystery. Swamps, alligators and night noises make for a frightening crime scene.
The talented cast give good, solid performances. Underwood is quite effective as the criminal. It's a big departure from his usually upscale, yuppie roles and he's very believable. Fishburne consistently gives a good performance - every character he plays seems to be a new facet of his own personality. Harris is also topnotch He's both explosive and scary as the psychotic killer.
The film is often suspenseful and has a juicy twist in the middle which adds to the intense storyline. It kept my interest and even surprised me a little. What more can you ask for in a thriller?