Witness (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
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When Samuel (Lukas Haas), a young Amish boy traveling with his mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis), witnesses the murder of a police officer in a public restroom, he and his mother become the temporary wards of John Book (Harrison Ford), a detective who's been assigned to solve the crime. After suspect lineups and mug-shot books yield nothing, Samuel, in the most memorable scene of the film, recognizes the murderer as a narcotics agent whose picture he sees in the precinct. Once Book realizes that the police chief is in on it, too, he whisks Samuel and Rachel back home to Amish country, where he himself goes into hiding as a plain Amish man. The juxtaposition between the life of the Amish and the violence of inner-city police corruption work surprisingly well for the story, and Kelly McGillis as the falling in love widow gives an almost perfect performance. Directed by Peter Weir, the film is extremely successful in drawing the viewer into its world and, accordingly, is immensely entertaining. The only thing that mars its polish is the one-dimensional, almost cartoonish handling of the upper-echelon police corruption--a subtler, more realistic treatment of this aspect of the story would have rendered the film near perfect. --James McGrath --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The story revolves around Samuel a little boy who has witnessed the murder of an undercover police officer, his mother Rachel (McGillis)and John Book (Ford) who investigates the murder discovering corruption, deceit and a conspiracy at it the heart of his department. After he discovers that his witness isn't safe, Book whisks them back to their Amish farm where he's forced to hideout as well.
One of Weir's finest films to focus on America, this so-so transfer looks grainy and has lots of compression issues. The transfer isn't a widescreen anamorphic transfer but is presented in that format (i.e., it's presented with the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen but the transfer isn't high definition). The picture occasionally comes across as soft and the rich use of color and light that vividly brought the film to life in theaters isn't well represented here. Hopefully Paramount will update this and remaster it the way it deserves to be done.
The extras include an interview with Weir obviously done around the time the film was made or first appeared on video and the original theatrical trailer. I would have expected a commentary track but since Weir isn't all that big on them to begin with, that would be hoping for too much.
A great film just a poor translation to DVD.
The movie is about a young Amish boy (Lukas Haas) who witnesses a murder in the men's room of a train station while traveling with his mother, Rachel (Kelly McGillis). When the young boy identifies the murderer as a fellow detective, the detective John Books (Harrison Ford) who is assigned to the case must protect them. John gets shot but realizes he must save the young boy and his beautiful widowed mother. He knows they must go into hiding so he drives them to their farm in the Amish community before he collapses. While learning the ways of the Amish lifestyle, a romance begins between John and Rachel. During several twist and turns the action and suspense continues. The chemistry between Ford and McGillis is remarkable and realistic. This thriller, love story is very touching and definitely one you don't want to miss.
So, I watched it last night. It was interesting in that I remembered so much, even some small details about it. So it really did impress me that first time when I was young. This time, I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't say it is a film I would watch over and over again, as I watch some classic films. To see it once more was enough to just satisfy my curiosity about my memories of it.
I did feel they portrayed the Amish quite well, with the clothes and such. What they did wrong about the portrayal was that in no way would it be allowed for an Amish woman to tend to a wounded man who wasn't her husband, by herself in a room alone with him. It just isn't proper, isn't done. In reality, a man would have done that, or an older woman would have done it, with another woman there. I think the movie allowed the Rachel character to have way more "access" to a man alone than would be allowed in a real Amish or Mennonite community. I doubt he would have really been allowed to stay in the house.Read more ›
Ford plays John Book, a dedicated if rather world-weary detective captain in the Philadelphia police department who is called in to investigate the brutal slaying of an undercover officer in a public restroom at the train station. His only witness: eight-year-old Samuel Lapp (Lukas Haas), an Amish boy who's traveling with his beautiful (and recently widowed) mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis).
At first, Book and Rachel clash when he insists that Samuel's testimony is badly needed to identify the cop killers, but when the investigation leads to the corrupt Lt. James McFee (Danny Glover) and others in the police force, the young and terrified Amish woman must become Book's protector when he is wounded in a parking lot shootout with McFee and some of his accomplices. Making their way to Lancaster County in Book's car, Rachel, Samuel and the wounded detective find temporary refuge in the rural and definitely back-to-basics Amish community in the Pennsylvania countryside.
Australian director Peter Weir, working from a well-written screenplay by William Kelley and Earl W. Wallace, combines the fish-out-of-water theme of a modern American cop hiding out in a community that shuns his modern, "English" ways with a beautiful love story and a taut mystery thriller.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This is my mom's favourite movie of all time. She has been looking for it in stores since she first saw it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
On of the best movies that Harrison Ford was ever in. Should have been an Oscar contender for best actor.Published 11 months ago by Greg Lyons
Always liked this film. It is a fine example of show, don't tell. Shooting and framing tell so much of the story...a master class in that film technique. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Cottage guy
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