As you can probably guess, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is a courtroom drama good for exactly one viewing. It’s actually a remake of a 1956 movie of the same name, updated to modern standards. We will be following a young reporter who suspects that the prosecutor in his city is dirty. And it won’t get long before he gets into a lot of trouble. The cast is led by Michael Douglas who gave another solid performance in this otherwise forgettable thriller. A movie that looks and feels like a television movie from twenty years ago.
Depending on your taste, this could be either a good or a bad thing. I for one love these almost cheesy movies as I find them quite relaxing. They’re just mildly entertaining and don’t require a lot of effort from the viewer. The main story had a lot of potential featuring a familiar teacher-student dynamic. And I still don’t quite understand how Peter Hyams, director of such great movies as Narrow Margin and Outland managed to make a mediocre movie. Then again, he was the guy behind the 1999’s so-bad-that-it’s-good movie End of Days.
I know you’re probably wondering right about now what makes Beyond a Reasonable Doubt a movie worth watching. Well, the main plot is rather unique and it features a lot of twists. Moreover, it examines the justice system thoroughly and shines a light on certain aspects of it other movies usually avoid. I also loved how our protagonists are driven to conflict because of one trait they both share: ambition. Ahh, yes, good old American ambition that separates winners from losers. And in the middle of this conflict, a young female assistant DA will have to decide which one is which.
Welcome to Shreveport, Louisiana, a place where dreams come true. If you’re an ambitious and smooth-talking prosecutor, you start eyeing up the governor’s seat. And if you’re a young and talented reporter, you’re looking for that next big story. A story that might earn you a Pulitzer prize one day. C.J. Nicholas is a TV reporter who wants to do just that and so he focuses on Mark Hunter, a prosecutor who might have a secret or two in his closet. His plan is simple, innovative, and above all dangerous. But if it works, it just might change his life completely…
On top of all the things we already talked about, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is also a murder mystery. All of these little bits and pieces come together, rather clunkily, to offer a mildly engaging story. This is one of those movies where you can go make yourself a sandwich in the kitchen or take a huge dump without pausing it. Something to play in the background, to put it bluntly.
Director: Peter Hyams
Writers: Peter Hyams, Douglas Morrow
Cast: Jesse Metcalfe, Michael Douglas, Amber Tamblyn, Joel Moore, Orlando Jones
Fun Stuff: Despite a rather large budget of $25 million, the movie was a financial failure making only around $5 million.