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Sooner or Later a Man Who Wears Two Faces Forgets Which One is Real.
|A high-profile slaying becomes the case of an ambitious attorney's career in this legal thriller based on the novel by William Diehl. Richard Gere stars as Martin Vail, a famed defense lawyer who volunteers his services to Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton), a Kentucky teenager charged with the murder of a Chicago archbishop. Covered with blood, Aaron was captured after a foot chase broadcast live on TV, making a gleeful Vail certain that he could raise his profile by defending the obviously guilty suspect. Assigned to prosecute is Assistant District Attorney Janet Venable (Laura Linney), who is Vail's ex-girlfriend. Vail's case becomes more complicated than he expected when a psychologist, Dr. Molly Arrington (Frances McDormand) concludes that Stampler suffers from multiple personality disorder. Vail also uncovers evidence that the archbishop was involved in a corrupt land scheme and may have molested young parishioners. Now the cynical, opportunistic attorney is faced with a daunting prospect, a client who may actually deserve his best defense. Its shocking, twist ending made Primal Fear (1996) a big box office hit and earned Norton, in his screen debut, an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.|
"Gere is excellent. A brilliant debut performance by Edward Norton. Jack Mathews, Newsday
"A tight courtroom melodrama that serves up twist after twist... Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"...riveting...blend[s] quirky suspense with emotion-charged courtroom drama... Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle
"A crackling courtroom drama with more twists than O.J. had alibis. Rita Kempley, The Washington Post
Editor's NotePowerful, media-hungry Chicago defense attorney Martin Vail (Richard Gere) gets in over his head when he takes the case of an altar boy (Edward Norton making his film debut) accused of murdering an archbishop. His opponent for the prosecution is his former protege and lover Janet Venable (Laura Linney), who's out to make this her watershed case. A suspenseful courtroom with a truly unexpected ending, this drama is based on the novel by William Diehl.
Cast & Crew
|William Diehl - Story|
|James Newton Howard - Composer|
|David Rosenbloom - Editor|
|Steve Shagan - Screenwriter|
|Michael Chapman - Director of Photography|
|Jeannine Claudia Oppewall - Production Designer|
|Gary Lucchesi - Producer|
|Ann Biderman - Screenwriter|
|Gregory Hoblit - Director|
Plot SummaryIn Chicago, an Archbishop has been brutally murdered, and a sweet-faced altar boy named Aaron -- who was seen fleeing the scene of the crime and whose clothes were soaked in blood -- is charged with the crime. Aaron claims he was present when the murder occurred, but that he is not the killer.| Coming to Aaron's rescue in this high-profile case is Martin Vail, a cocky lawyer who loves the media's spotlight as much as he loves his job. The legal road ahead of Martin and Aaron is filled with many obstacles, including a very determined prosecuting attorney (who's Martin's ex-lover), revelations about the Archbishop's "relationship" with the altar boys, and Aaron himself, who has a very violent, repugnant second personality named Roy. | Is Aaron/Roy guilty? Or is he taking the fall for someone else?
|Edward Norton, Nominee, Best Actor in a Supporting Role|
Golden Globe (1997)
|Edward Norton, Winner, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture|
British Academy Awards (1997)
|Edward Norton, Nominee, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role|
MTV Award (1997)
|Edward Norton, Nominee, Best Villain|
|"When your mother says she loves you, ask for a second opinion." ---- Martin Vail (RICHARD GERE), to a reporter who is interviewing him.|