Certainly it doesn't help that Aaron was caught running from the crime scene, covered in blood, and with the archbishop's ring in his pocket. Besides, who is going to believe him anyway - a stuttering, uneducated boy from rural Kentucky who was found begging by the powerful clergyman, taken in as an altar boy and made to sing in his choir - that he was present when the murder was committed but can't remember a single thing because he blacked out? Nobody; surely not the police and ADA Janet Venable (Laura Linney), assigned by D.A./Rushman friend Shaughnessy (John Mahoney) personally to try the case, with the express mandate to obtain a death penalty conviction. Nobody, that is, except Aaron's defense attorney Martin Vail (Richard Gere). Vail, of all people: the flamboyant ADA-turned-private-practitioner, the star attorney not shying away from even the shadiest client, to whom TV and magazine cover interviews are as second nature as his courtroom appearances, and who cynically quotes as his mottos a professor's maxims on his first day in law school: "From this day forward, if your mother says she loves you, get a second opinion." And: "If you want justice, go to a whorehouse. If you want to get f**ked, go to court."
"Primal Fear" was adapted from William Diehl's like-named bestselling novel and, like in many literary adaptations, its screenplay is a hit-and-miss affair.Read more ›
"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.Read more ›