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NEW Primal Fear (DVD)

DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 7.99
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Primal Fear Primal Fear 4.4 out of 5 stars (67)
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Product Description

A high-profile slaying becomes the case of an ambitious attorney's career in this legal thriller based on the novel by William Diehl. Richard Gere stars as Martin Vail a famed defense lawyer who volunteers his services to Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton) a Kentucky teenager charged with the murder of a Chicago archbishop. Covered with blood Aaron was captured after a foot chase broadcast live on TV making a gleeful Vail certain that he could raise his profile by defending the obviously guilty suspect. Assigned to prosecute is Assistant District Attorney Janet Venable (Laura Linney) who is Vail's ex-girlfriend. Vail's case becomes more complicated than he expected when a psychologist Dr. Molly Arrington concludes that Stampler suffers from multiple personality disorder. Vail also uncovers evidence that the archbishop was involved in a corrupt land scheme and may have molested young parishioners. Now the cynical opportunistic attorney is faced with a daunting prospect a client who may actually deserve his best defense. Its shocking twist ending made Primal Fear a big box office hit and earned Norton an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. "Clever twists and a bona fide surprise ending make this an above-average courtroom thriller, tapping into the post-O.J. scrutiny of our legal system in the case of a hotshot Chicago defense attorney whose latest client is an altar boy accused of murdering a Catholic archbishop. The film uses its own manipulation to tell a story about manipulation, and when we finally discover who's been pulling the strings, the payoff is both convincing and pertinent to the ongoing debate over what constitutes truth in the American system of justice. Making an impressive screen debut that has since led to a stellar career, Norton gives a performance that rides on a razor's edge of schizophrenic pathology--his role is an actor's showcase, and without crossing over the line of credibility, Norton milks it for all it's worth." --Jeff Shannon

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Most helpful customer reviews
By John
Format:DVD
With each and every passing of a week it becomes evidently clearer that Hollywood's fixation on making the almighty dollar is much more important than creating quality material. Alas, when the great films do eventually come our way, they seem like masterpieces. Hence this entire "Lord of the Rings" craze.
"Primal Fear" is a quiet masterpiece. It's an Oscar contender at heart, hidden beneath a layer of assorted cliches and plot twists. Does that mean the movie is bad? Not by a long shot. It's terribly entertaining and splendidly acted, particularly by a young Edward Norton. It's a fine movie in almost every respect, although it has a few minor flaws that prevent it from becoming completely excellent.
In a nutshell: Norton is the 19-year-old who kills the archbishop of a church in Chicago; Gere is his attorney who takes on the case.
Gere doesn't care whether his clients are guilty or not. "I just do my job. It's not like I'm friends with them," he says. But he connects with his newest client in a way unlike he ever has before. "I think he's innocent," he tells one of his co-workers. "I think he's telling the truth."
The stuttering 19-year-old Kentucky boy has no clear motive for killing the archbishop. They are related only through the fact that he was a choirboy for the church and the archbishop had taken him in off the streets. But the clues start to connect and soon they find out that sweet ol' choirboy may have split personality disorder--his other side, Roy, comes into play when his normal side becomes hassed and hurt. The stutters fade away and an evil side shines through--an evil side that admits to killing the archbishop.
Of course, we all know that it doesn't stop there.
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Format:DVD
"Primal Fear" is an entertaining thriller with some plot twists, good performances and interesting story. But the best part of the movie is the Edward Norton performance, he steals the show from good actors every time he appears on the screen.
The movie introduces a cynical, narcissist and ambitious famous lawyer Martin Vail, he is played by Richard Gere, and of course he has no problem with the role because Richard Gere is cynical, narcissist, ambitious and famous. Anyway, when Martin Vail watches on TV the arrest of a boy accused of the homicide of a Chicago archbishop, he immediately sees the opportunity of raise his profile by defending the boy.
Then he meets Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton), a quiet and harmless boy; then the lawyer realizes that Aaron is innocent. After that, the movie becomes an entertaining thriller / mystery / courtroom drama, with some plot twists, interesting characters and revelations.
But the most interesting part is to see all the changes and emotions that Edward Norton prints in his character; he is just an amazing actor, his performance is by far the best in the movie. After this film, Norton delivered his best performance in American History X, and established himself as the best actor of his generation.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Edward Norton shines again Dec 7 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Retrospectively the most interesting thing about Primal Fear is that it saw the first movie of actor of a generation Edward Norton. However, this is a movie that would be worth seeing anyway. The plot has Gere as a hotshot attorney who defends 19 year-old Aaron (Norton) after he is captured running away from the murder scene of the a bishop who he claims to have been like a father to him. Seeming like an impossible case to win, Gere originally revels only in the prestige something so high-profile offers him, until Aaron is diagnosed with having multiple personality dissorder.
The cast is definitely the best thing about this movie though. Gere is competent though not an obvious choice as the lawyer, yet the succession of breakthrough roles is very impressive indeed. Norton is probably one of the most versatile and compelling actors I have ever seen on screen although strangely enough is only just starting to be recognised as such, mostly choosing if not indie movies then certainly ones that are often outside of the glare of Hollywood (excepting the recent Red Dragon). Anyone who has seen Fight Club, Rounder or in particular the astounding, electric performance he puts in for American History X, can testify to this. Primal Fear is no exception, and his performance here is probably second only to his in American History X. There's also an appearance from Frances McDormand before fame hit, as well as Maura Tierny (ER's Abby, who is surely just waiting for her big break anytime soon), both in medium roles. In addition, Laura Linney proves that she has more than it takes to become a leading lady in a largely unrewarding role.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surprise, Surprise Aug. 8 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Martin Vale (Richard Gere) eats, sleeps and breathes the law. As a defense attourney he is feared and hated by every prosecutor in Chicago. Why? Because he's that good. He's known for his rough tactics as well as his brilliant performances in the courtroom. He loves being in court as much as he loves seeing his name in print and his face on the evening news. He believes "that a person is innocent until proven guilty" and believes in the basic goodness in people. He simply loves the law.
When Chicago's beloved Archbishop Rushman is stabbed to death (78 times) in his rectory and a blood-soaked alter boy (Edward Norton) is arrested as the prime and only suspect, Vail can't resist being the first to offer his services - pro bono. Aaron Stampler is the 19-year-old alter boy who claims he didn't kill the Archbishop. He says he was in the room at the time of the murder, but that there was a third person there and he blacked out. His stuttering Kentucky mountain accent and angelic boy scout look is only the beginning to a great defense.
Janet Venable (Laura Linney), a former girlfriend of Vail, is the prosecutor assigned to this case. I think she's looking forward to butting heads with Vail again. Her bosses want the death penalty and nothing less.
Based on the novel of murder and suspense by William Diehl, we've got a truly star-studded jackpot with "Primal Fear." The characters were so well written in the book, it must not have been too difficult to convert to film. It's easy to love and/or hate each character.
Richard Gere is always brilliant, putting everything he's got into each role. This character, Martin Vail, reminds me of his Edward Lewis in "Pretty Woman.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Twist
By far, one of Edward Norton's best. The cunning personality of his character takes Richard Gere's character to an unexpected level. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Kate
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning performance by Edward Norton (4.5/5)
this is one of the best murder mystery,psychological suspense films i
have ever seen.this thing will keep you riveted and guessing right down
to the end. Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2007 by falcon
5.0 out of 5 stars "Your job is to sit there and look innocent."
The archbishop of Chicago has just been brutally murdered and 19-year old altar boy Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton) is found running from the scene, covered in the man's blood. Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2006 by Kona
1.0 out of 5 stars You gotta be kidding!!!
This is a great movie with interesting plot twists?? I groaned throughout this movie. So predictable....the egotistical lawyer, his ex-lover DA, the dialogue, the acting....ughh. Read more
Published on July 1 2004 by Todd Martz
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder and Misdirection.
"Fui bailar no meu batel alem do mar cruel," sings modern fadista Dulce Pontes in this movie's dynamic title song: "I went dancing in my boat, there on the cruel sea. Read more
Published on June 22 2004 by Themis-Athena
5.0 out of 5 stars Primal Fear (1996)
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Cast: Richard Gere, Edward Norton, Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alre Woodard, Frances McDormand.
Running Time: 130 minutes. Read more
Published on May 28 2004 by The Tweeder
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting Courtroom Drama!!!
The story revolves around an alter boy named Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton) that is accused of murdering a priest. Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2004 by Mitch Weaver
5.0 out of 5 stars "Aaron" " Roy"
Edward Norton Superb, Stunning, Amazing! You will be impressed with the job he does in Primal Fear.
Aaron Stampler (Norton)is accused of murdering a Catholic archbishop, he... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by murph
5.0 out of 5 stars Norton is amazing PRIMAL FEAR is a keeper
Edward Norton wowed us all beyond speech with this performance. He so convinces us of who he is throughout the film; we are betrayed, shocked, and dismayed when he reveals himself... Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2003 by Alicia Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't think he did it!!! It was Roy!
Ok, first off, I watched this movie when it came to theatres in 96, and I thought the ending was so messed up, but I was only 14. Read more
Published on Nov. 3 2003
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