Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Say hello to hotshot Assistant District Attorney Mitch Brockden (Dominic Cooper) who will be headlining for us in this film 'Reasonable Doubt'.  You've met him already if seen a lawyer TV show or any movie featuring a lawyer somewhere within the last fifty years.  He's young, brash, arrogant, gives killer closing arguments and he never loses.  That guy.  Usually this guy gets into trouble when something lands outside his purview, be it an unwise affair, or taking on the wrong client or his family gets kidnapped or his drug problem gets out of control… note to future screenwriters, make a movie featuring a lawyer with all of the above, it will be a smash.  Mitch is no different as he is about to get into a little trouble that will fall slightly outside his purview, and all we want is to be thrilled while he works it out.  That's what a Thriller is supposed to do.  We will let you know if that happened.

Mitch has just won his latest case in superior fashion and he and his boys are out celebrating his awesomeness when Mitch unwisely drives home a little drunk.  By chance he runs over this dude on a snowy Chicago street and seeing his career fading away, he leaves the dude in the street but at least calls an ambulance from a nearby pay phone.  We gotta say this dude he just hit looks mighty f'd up to just get hit by a car.  Just sayin'.

Mitch is frazzled, because he's not a bad guy, despite his profession, and he's a little more frazzled when somebody is arrested for killing this dude he ran over.  This guys name is Clifton Davis (Samuel L. Jackson) and the cops pulled him over for having the bloodied guy in the back of his van.  Davis says he was just taking him to the hospital after a hit and run, but the cops, particularly beautiful detective Blake Kanon (Gloria Rueben), think Davis killed this dude and worst yet, she thinks he might be a serial killer.  The fact that the detective is beautiful has nothing to do with anything relating to this movie, but she is.
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Well, Mitch knows that Davis didn't kill this guy because he killed the guy, and he decides to take the case on as prosecutor and maybe tank the case to get Davis free.  Besides, Mitch being a family man with a beautiful wife (Erin Karpluk) and new baby can relate to Davis on some level due to Davis' pain of losing his own wife and child to some crazed murderer a few years back.

Things do kind of work out to Mitch's plan, though the trial did have some tense moments here and there, but now Mitch is starting to think that maybe he didn't do the right thing.  I mean of course he didn't do the right thing, the right thing being calling the police after you run somebody down with your car, but one issue compounds upon another and now Mitch has a genuine situation on his hands.  Will Mitch and his family escape this mess alive?  Mitch is kind of stupid so he probably shouldn't, but he probably will.

Want to know what one of my problems is with this adequately entertaining, if not somewhat generic thriller 'Reasonable Doubt'?  The trailer.  Now I don't know how you make a trailer without giving away key plot points of your film, yet still keep enough of your film in this trailer so that people want see it.  Maybe just ride the fact that Dominic Cooper is a fast rising star and Sam Jackson looks out of his mind? But the trailer gives away too much of this film which doesn't really allow for an organic viewing experience, and we all know that organic viewing is the best kind of viewing, right?

All that being said, what you are going to get with director Peter Howitt's film, if you choose to accept this mission, is a well crafted, sharply executed, decently paced thriller where we follow the actions of one dumb guy as he does stupid thing after stupid thing.  There are some logical things Mitch could have done once he discovered his error, and then there's what Mitch actually does, and this is the point where 'Reasonable Doubt' will either sink or swim for most viewers.  For me, while fully recognizing that Mitch places everybody in his life in grave danger with his stupidity, I found it entertaining watching him do this.  Someone else on the other hand might hope for a smarter script that can achieve its ends using different, more clever means.  Clearly that's not us here at the FCU.

The completely British Dominic Cooper did a fine job playing a guy from Chicago, who is actually in Canada somewhere where this movie was shot, and do you think Samuel L. Jackson can play crazy?  Why yes he can.  Can Gloria Rubin play a beautiful tough cop?  Sure!  She did it for years on that show… uh… it was on Lifetime and I can't remember the name of it… but yeah, she can.  And while the character of Mitch might not have been all that bright, I did enjoy the way that Sam Jackson's character was crafted in that he existed in a gray area between good and evil, at least until we got to our generic thriller ending. 

So we liked 'Reasonable Doubt'.  Solid, well crafted, well acted and largely predictable, but entertaining.
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