Just Cause

"Intellectuals are suckers" is one of the messages Just Cause puts across. Paul Armstrong (Sean Connery) comes into the picture with a debate about capital punishment, citing statistics without a proper frame of reference but maintaining ideals that are noble. He is approached by the grandmother of a Cornell graduate Bobby Earl (Blair Underwood) who is on death row for raping and killing a 11 year old girl. Not able to get rid of his guilty conscience, Armstrong agrees to take on the case even though he hasn't practised law in a period of 25 years. He is persuaded by his wife, who has other motives, mainly easing her conscience over the fact she was responsible for Earl losing his scholarship a long time ago. Little does she know that's not all he lost.

On arriving at the Florida everglades (where the plot is set), Armstrong finds that a confession was was beaten out of his client with a telephone book by Tanny Brown (Lawrence Fishburne), a bad cop. Armstrong, being well-aware of the fact that the justice system is all screwed up and that the cops in charge of the investigation are pretty mean and biased, takes his client's story about a prison-mate being the murderer on faith and investigates it. Being the smart Harvard educated academic he is, he unravels the clues given to him to find the necessary evidence to get his client off of death row.

Except that Earl, who during the course of losing his scholarship, also lost his testicles and his sanity. And his release by Armstrong with the aid of the prison-mate is an elaborate plot to get back at Armstrong's wife. In the end, the bad cop doesn't turn out to be such a bad cop after and all's well when the alligators have a good dinner.

The plot is pretty intricate and executed well to provide a lot suspense, even though it is somewhat predictable. Yet, it is one of the better thrillers I've seen in a while. I do think Connery is getting a bit old, though. I mean, the man who had the license to kill now talks of "overstepping parametres" and can't even handle a proper handshake.

My question is: how come the alligators left the body little girl alone but were very quick in finishing off the killer at an opportune time?

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org