Oct 8, 2014

Review: Double Jeopardy (1999)

Double Jeopardy reminds me dangerously of The Fugitive. In The Fugitive, Richard Kimble played by the almighty Harrison Ford is framed for the murder of his wife and subsequently hunted down by Tommy Lee Jones. DJ features Libby, played by Ashley Judd, framed for the murder of her husband and subsequently hunted down by Tommy Lee Jones as well.

OK I suppose it's a bit of a loose connection, but I still made it quite a bit while I watched Double Jeopardy. I'm sure that DJ is also the kind of movie that bothers lawyers like mad with its use of the Double Jeopardy Clause of The Fifth Amendment. What's for sure is that you have to be ready to shut off your brain for any of the legal stuff in here. On a sidenote, I was excited to see Normand Corbeil as the composer of the score since I had loved the music in the video game Heavy Rain which he was responsible for. It was a score with a ton of weight and I enjoy listening to it outside of the game.


Genre: crime, mystery, thriller
Directed by: Bruce Beresford
Produced by: Leonard Goldberg, Richard Luke Rothschild
Written by: David Weisberg, Douglas Cook
Music by: Normand Corbeil
Running time: 105 minutes
Production company: Paramount Pictures, MFP Munich Film Partners GmbH & Company I. Produktions KG, Province of British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures, Filmes Lusomundo, United International Pictures, etc.
Country: United States, Canada
Language: English
Budget: $70,000,000
Box office: $177,841,558 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd, Bruce Greenwood, Annabeth Gish, Roma Maffia, Jay Brazeau, Michael Gaston, Daniel Lapaine, Dave Hager, Benjamin Weir, Spencer Treat Clark, Davenia McFadden, Betsy Brantley, Babz Chula


Libby Parsons (Ashley Judd) lives a pretty comfortable life with her husband Nick (Bruce Greenwood) and their young son Matty (Benjamin Weir). However, they are struggling financially despite their rich living conditions. Nick proposes they go sailing to relax which then turns into a romantic, overnight affair. Libby wakes up in the night to an empty bed covered in blood. Following the trail of blood onto the deck with no sign of Nick anywhere, the US Coast Guard shows up. It doesn't take much more time for Libby to find herself in court facing a murder charge.


My first complaint of Double Jeopardy is actually Ashley Judd herself. In a couple of scenes where she's supposed to have some emotional outbursts, she kind of embarrasses herself if you ask me. I don't know if she just maybe needed a couple more takes for those scenes but I don't think she really hit the notes she should have there. That also includes an awful awful court scene that at the very least is pretty short.

(Spoilers) Ashley Judd's character is also meant to go through a shift in her character during her stint in prison after she gets convicted. Through her six years in the can, she hardens, she trains physically and is supposed to come out as one tough cookie. Ashley Judd does not look like a tough cookie. Other actresses who were considered like Jodie Foster, Michelle Pfeiffer or Brooke Shields would've been better at pulling that off. That's not really Ashley's fault though but it's clear why she wasn't the first choice for the Libby Parsons role. (End Spoilers)

Tommy Lee Jones is fine in his role though, but that comes as no surprise. Make no mistake though, The Fugitive this is not. Even with Jones in the fold, it's not even close. Double Jeopardy fails for the most part in being thrilling at all really. The movie is devoid of any scenes that really get you sitting at the edge of your seat which should be it's number one mandate. There area also a couple of weak plot points that seem to be there for convenience that derail DJ even further. (Spoilers) However, I'll give a thumbs up to the scene where Libby is stuck in a coffin with a dead woman right beside her. That's before we find out that her murderous husband conveniently left her bag at her feet with the gun she managed to steal from her parole officer. (End Spoilers)

Oh, but I do like Normand Corbeil's score quite a bit though. That's pretty much the most positive thing I can say about Double Jeopardy. The story as a whole just feels stale, uninspired and some of the plot just feels a bit too convenient, taking away any real feelings of desperation. It also fails to offer any thrills to speak of for the most part and I wasn't terribly impressed with Ashley Judd in the starring role. Tommy Lee Jones is as fun to watch as always but that usually comes standard with any movie he's in.



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