Primal Fear (1996)

(On TV, September 1998) It’s no mean feat for a courtroom drama to sustain interest when any sufficiently intelligent viewer can guess the major plot twists coming around at least one good half-hour before they happen. Usually, I try to go along with the game, but Primal Fear didn’t help out by revealing its oh-so-clever premise in the opening line (“What do you do when you know your client is guilty?” Duuuh! What do you think will happen, now??) The usage of standard thriller gimmicks (the sex videotape; oh, how shocking!) also lets the plot being comfortably predictable. Yet, Primal Fear is not a complete waste of time, mostly due to the good acting by Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Edward Norton. It’s also nicely directed, and the script (despite its predictability) is entertaining. Catch it on TV.

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