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High Crimes

By Eric Allen Hatch | Posted

San Francisco attorney Claire Kubik (Ashley Judd) has her perfect life shattered when her husband, Tom (James Caviezel), suddenly gets court-martialed for war crimes allegedly committed years ago in El Salvador. Claire throws herself into proving Tom innocent, enlisting the help of military-law expert and recovering alcoholic Charles Grimes (Morgan Freeman). Suspicious accidents soon communicate the displeasure of the powers-that-be with Claire's persistence. Director Carl Franklin has helmed two impeccable neo-noirs (One False Move and Devil in a Blue Dress), and he packs some effective thrills into a few moonlit scenes here. Unfortunately, Judd's simply not actress enough to carry a picture, especially one this predictable. And while the movie succeeds in realistically casting U.S. agents as bad guys in Latin America during the 1980s, it also serves two reactionary purposes: softening us to the impending spate of military tribunals and reassuring us that the U.S. government actively polices its own past misdeeds. Were the latter the case, instead of High Crimes we'd be watching Henry Kissinger stand trial for crimes against humanity in East Timor, with his Nobel Peace Prize shoved up his ass.

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