Under Suspicion (2000)
Down through decades of Harrys and Walters and Colonel Whoevers, Gene Hackman has quietly been a load-bearing wall in the edifice of Hollywood: so effective, you hardly notice how effective he is. There is surely a Gene Hackman Thing, a recognizable (and bankable) presence, but it's not built on any definable shtick or thespian chops. Nevertheless, here he is, in Under Suspicion, square at the center of an Actor's Movie. This time he's a Henry, a rich American tax lawyer living in Puerto Rico, stuck in a police station for an interrogation session with police captain Victor Benezet (Morgan Freeman). His social obligations and his ravishing young wife (Monica Bellucci) are waiting, but the cops won't let him go; they don't like his alibi in a string of nasty child murders. The setup is stiff and stagey, but as the talking goes on, with Benezet poking at the wriggling Henry, shame and fear creep through the cracks in the lawyer's bluster, till a dramatic conceit has been replaced by a real, wretched human being. Whaddya know? Hackman saves another movie.