High Crimes is a 2002 American thriller film directed by Carl Franklin. The screenplay by Yuri Zeltser and Grace Cary Bickley is based on a novel by Joseph Finder.
Attorney, Claire Kubik (Ashley Judd), and her woodworker husband, Tom (James Caviezel), find their idyllic life in Marin County shattered when, during a Christmas shopping excursion in San Francisco's Union Square, he is captured by the FBI and charged with the murder of nine peasants in a remote village in El Salvador in 1988. Claire is shocked to discover Tom, whose real name is Ronald Chapman, was a covert military operative serving in the United States Marine Corps and has been on the run for the past fourteen years.
Tom admits he was present at the scene of the mass murders but staunchly denies being involved in the killings. He insists he has been made a scapegoat in order to conceal the identity of the real culprit, Major James Hernandez (Juan Carlos Hernández), now the aide of Brigadier General Bill Marks (Bruce Davison).
First Lieutenant Terence Embry (Adam Scott)is assigned to defend Tom, but his youth and lack of experience prompt Claire to decide to defend her husband as well. When she realizes she needs help from someone familiar with the workings of a military court, she hires Charlie Grimes (Morgan Freeman), an embittered former military attorney who has a grudge against the military brass, to assist her. Three key eyewitnesses, who previously testified Tom was guilty, have died under mysterious circumstances, raising Claire and Charlie's suspicions. As the trial proceeds, they uncover a massive cover-up perpetrated by one of the military's highest ranking officials. Also creating problems are the sudden appearance of a resident of the village where the mass murder took place, who insists Tom was responsible; Embry's romantic involvement with Claire's irresponsible sister Jackie (Amanda Peet), which leads Claire to believe he may be leaking details about secrets she has uncovered to the prosecution; and Charlie's falling off the wagon after more than a year of sobriety.
By deus ex machina, the Department of Defense has the case thrown out of court due to "security reasons". Just as Claire is about to celebrate her victory in court, Charlie discovers the truth, while in Mexico, that Tom was the actual killer after all. After hearing Claire talk to Charlie on the phone, a short scuffle between Claire and Tom ensues. The Salvadorian witness to the massacre shoots Tom through the window. The film ends with Charlie and Claire starting a new partnership-based law firm.
(to Brigadier General Bill Marks) Claire Kubik: I've already survived you once you smug son of a bitch. The question is: Will you survive me?
Jackie: I just don't believe it. I refuse. Charlie Grimes: My assistant now used to say 'truth is less fun than fiction'. Jackie: Terry would never do that! Claire Kubik: Oh, you're screwin' him so you know him? Jackie: Excuse me, Mrs RON CHAPMAN!
Lisa Stenstrom: You have no idea what it's like to see somebody you love killed right in front of you.
|Release Date||3 April 2002|
|US Box Office||$42,000,000|
|Tagline||Everything you trust. Everything you know. May be a lie...|
|Genre||Crime, Thriller, Drama|
|Filming Locations||Alameda, California, USA|
|Sound Mix||DTS, Dolby Digital|
|Film Class||Psychological Thriller, Courtroom Drama|
|Themes||Courts Martial, Political Corruption, Woman In Jeopardy, Double Life|
|Tones||Tense, Paranoid, Talky, Ominous|