When you think your life is complete, full of understanding, you may break from tradition and try something different. It’s at that point when you begin pushing yourself to find a new and exciting way to change things up. Often times, though, that leads to nothing but trouble because you begin stretching the limits a tad too far and end up getting in over your head. Yeah, that’s why I’m not one who likes push things. Sure I’ll test my limits because satisfaction with only the least done to achieve is not really satisfaction at all. You’ve got to know when to quit though or you’ll end up…well, you’ll end up with an underachieving film that really isn’t very good.
Being stuck in Shreveport, Louisiana is not always the greatest thing in the world and that is coming from someone who has visited there and lived in Louisiana most of his life. Having the job of television reporter in a small town where nothing happens may be even worse, but such is the case of C.J. Nicholas (Jesse Metcalfe). He has an almost unhealthy obsession with District Attorney Mark Hunter (Michael Douglas) and believes that one day he’ll expose him for being corrupt. Sadly, he is virtually the only one that believes Hunter falsifies evidence in order to keep his perfect record intact so it’s going to take a serious amount of convincing or an elaborate plan to prove his point.
With the help of his friend Corey, C.J. comes up with a plan to implement himself for a crime he did not commit but knows how to work it in order to implicate Hunter. Unfortunately, his plan works far too well and he ends up being put on death row for a crime he knows he neither committed nor had anything to do with. Corey is the only person that knows the truth and he can do nothing to help C.J. His last chance is Hunter’s assistant, and C.J.’s lover, Ella, that knows the kind of good person C.J. is and that he’d never do such a thing. But love and truth may not be nearly enough to overthrow the power of the corrupt Hunter.
Trust me when I say that you’re not going to get much out of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt because it oddly enough provides way too little in some aspects with way too much in others. The predictability of the film hits you about halfway through making the rest almost unbearable to sit through because you know you’re right and believe me, you will be right. Then the ending(s) come along and things just get far too tangled up and you’ll long for it all to be over. Little did I know that this is a remake of a 1956 film of the same name. Some research proved to me that there is a very good chance it is much better then this version so I’ll be looking to add it to my collection next. Just steer clear of this version because it is nothing but a waste of time.
The film is shown in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format making for a very dark yet surprisingly sharp and clear picture. The whole film is shaded in blacks and dark colors but it really does come across nicely.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound is adequate but nothing spectacular. All dialogue is heard clearly and loudly which is good. The surround sound though is hardly used except for a few scenes here and there.
Audio Commentary – Director/writer Peter Hyams sits down with star Jesse Metcalfe for a commentary track that is rather subdued and not very interesting. They manage to reveal some rather useful information in figuring everything out only that’s about all they do well. Both Hyams and Metcalfe don’t seem to know how to speak freely very well and the result is a lot of long silences or stumbling over words.
The Whole Truth – This is supposed to be a “making of” featurette which shows through some quick backstage footage and cast/crew interviews, but it’s so incredibly short and rushed. (3:12)
Criminal Forensics: The Burden Of Proof – A real detective takes viewers through the real-life processes shown in the film. Could have been good if they would have actually devoted more time to it. (3:35)
Pointless all the way across the board and it shames me to see Michael Douglas in something like this. Who makes a remake and virtually sends it directly to video anyway? That’s got to tell you something right there. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is a huge waste of time that has only slight moments of entertainment before not failing to piss you off again. The special features make the DVD even more unnecessary because who wants to check out the extras of a bad film? Avoid, avoid, AVOID!
Starz/Anchor Bay presents Beyond A Reasonable Doubt. Directed by: Peter Hyams. Starring: Jesse Metcalfe, Amber Tamblyn, Michael Douglas. Written by: Peter Hyams & Douglas Morrow. Running time: 105 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: December 22, 2009. Available at Amazon.com