Directed by: Carl Franklin
Written by:Yuri Zeltser, Cary Bickley
Starring: Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, James Caviezel, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet
Released: May 9, 2002
Grade: B

Yep, it was only four years ago when Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman teamed up together in a battle to track down a serial killer in Kiss The Girls.  Obviously enjoying each other’s company, they’re teaming up again in High Crimes but this time they’re battling against the entire army in a massive conspiracy.

Claire Kubik (Judd) and her husband Tom are very happily married and are desperately trying to conceive their first child.  Out of nowhere, comes a bombshell.  Tom is arrested by the military for pulling the trigger in a massacre ten years ago where a group of innocent women and children were killed.  His real name is Ronald Chapman and Clarie is horrified that the man she thought she knew so well, has such a sordid past.

Tom declares his innocence and tells of a massive cover-up.  It was another member of his crew that was responsible for the shooting but since he is now the second-hand man to the powerful Brigadier General, Tom is the scapegoat to take the fall.

Claire is a lawyer herself but has no experience in the procedures and protocols of a military trial.  So she calls upon the reputable Charlie Grimes (Freeman) to represent her husband and together they find more and more truth in her husband’s theory.  Claire’s life is threatened by an attacker which only adds more fuel to her passion to seek the truth.  But what she would discover would soon make the purpose of the trial seem rather insignificant...

Ok, it’s run of the mill.  Some people have called it predictable but others, including myself, were a little stunned by the false ending and subsequent twist.  Perhaps I need to see it a second time to see whether every piece of the puzzle actually fits but despite not tackling anything new, High Crimes is solid entertainment.

Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman do work well together but neither actor is required to stretch beyond their personas.  Judd seems to be replacing Sigorney Weaver as the new tough-girl thriller heroine with this role following eye-catching performances in Double Jeopardy and Kiss The Girls.  Freeman is above this material and I much preferred to see him diversifying his portfolio in films such as last year’s Nurse Betty.

You know it’s a really weak title when I think about it - High Crimes just isn’t a title that sounds like it’ll sell tickets.  Whilst the film squeaked into number one last week at the Australian box-office, this is the kind of film that will be gathering dust in video stores in about three years time.