Reasonable Doubt (2014)
“Proof is the burden”
Reasonable Doubt (2014)
Director: Peter Howitt
Cast: Dominic Cooper, Samuel L. Jackson, Gloria Reuben
Synopsis: A District Attorney has his life turned upside down when he’s involved in a hit and run and another man is arrested for his crime and charged with murder.
Dominic Cooper (who bears a worrying resemblance to politician David Miliband) plays Mitch Brockden, an ambitious DA who sees his hopes and dreams disappear beneath the wheels of his 4x4 after he ill-advisedly decides to drive home after sinking a few too many tequilas. Luckily for Mitch, his victim isn’t dead so, after weighing up the pros and cons, he calls for help from a nearby phone booth and makes his getaway. He’d probably have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that pesky black guy who was arrested with Mitch’s near-roadkill in the back of his van. The man, Clinton Davis (Samuel L. Jackson – Robocop, Captain America: The Winter Soldier) claims he found the body and was driving him to the nearest hospital, but all the evidence suggests the victim – who subsequently died – had been tortured before he died. And as DA, Mitch finds himself in the prickly position of having to prosecute an innocent man for the crime that he himself committed.
The synopsis above would make a pretty decent movie plot on its own, but writer Peter A. Dowling, who wrote the equally implausible Flightplan in 2005, isn’t satisfied with such a straightforward plot and saddles us with a serial killer twist that takes Reasonable Doubt into new areas of silliness. To do so, he makes use of every conceivable thriller cliché you can think of, and leaves plot holes lying around like scrunched-up balls of writing paper. A surprise witness at Davis’s trial gets Brockden off the hook, even though that witness would have been in prison at the time that he claims to have been making that call to emergency services (although the entire plot seems to take place over a week or so rather than the year or more it would probably take). The intricacies of the plot require that Brockden commits one irritatingly stupid act after another while failing to do the simple things any ordinary person would do in the unlikely event that they would ever find themselves in a similar position, and by movie’s end everyone seems to have forgotten about his original crime so that we can have a happy ending all around.
Despite the fatal shortcomings of its plot, Reasonable Doubt remains undeniably, infuriatingly, watchable throughout, meaning that anyone watching On Demand is unlikely to feel cheated. And once its screen run finishes you’ll undoubtedly be able to find it in the bargain bins if, for some insane reason, you like it enough to actually part with some of your hard-earned…
(Reviewed 20th December 2014)