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"HIGH CRIMES"
(2002) (Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Mild Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Mild Extreme None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Moderate Mild Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Suspense: Upon discovering that her husband is really a former military operative who's been on the run from the government for more than a decade for murderous acts he claims he didn't commit, a civilian lawyer sets out to defend him in a military court.
PLOT:
Claire Kubik (ASHLEY JUDD) is a successful and highly regarded defense attorney at a top San Francisco firm where she's likely to become partner. Happily married to Tom (JIM CAVIEZEL) who works from a studio behind their Marin County home, Claire couldn't be happier and is trying to get pregnant.

Yet, after a break-in at their house results in various fingerprints being run, police and FBI agents suddenly swoop in and arrest Tom. It seems they believe him to be Ron Chapman, a former covert military operative who's been on the run for 12 years after murdering innocent El Salvadorian villagers during a raid. While Tom admits that he really is Chapman, he denies any wrongdoing and states that the real killer was his commanding officer, Major Hernandez (JUAN CARLOS HERNANDEZ), who was operating under orders by then Colonel William Marks (BRUCE DAVISON) who's now a general.

Not surprisingly, Claire can't believe any of this is happening. After learning that Tom's young defense counselor, Lieutenant Terrence Embry (ADAM SCOTT), has never won a case, and is going up against seasoned military prosecutor Major Waldron (MICHAEL GASTON) where the stakes are Tom's life, Claire decides to step in and represent her husband.

Yet, she needs help from someone who knows the system and thus enlists the aid of Charlie Grimes (MORGAN FREEMAN), a former military attorney and recovering alcoholic who was kicked out for having an affair with his superior officer's wife. A self-described wild card, Charlie is determined to help Claire in various unorthodox ways and thus get back at the system that spurned him.

With her somewhat wild sister, Jackie (AMANDA PEET), showing up and becoming involved with Embry, Claire then sets out to battle her self-doubts about Tom as well as the military, its court system and others who seem determined to prevent her from succeeding any way they can.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those who are fans of someone in the cast might want to, with the likeliest audience among kids probably being older teens.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For violence, sexual content and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ASHLEY JUDD plays a lawyer who discovers that her husband is really a former military operative who's been on the run from the government for many years. After the shock of that, she sets out to defend him in a military court with the aid of Grimes and Embry. She uses some profanity.
  • MORGAN FREEMAN plays a former military attorney who agrees to help Claire with their case so that he can get back at the military for kicking him out years earlier. He uses some profanity and is drunk in several scenes (after falling off the wagon).
  • JIM CAVIEZEL plays Claire's husband who hid his past from her during their marriage and is accused of killing innocent people while serving as a military operative.
  • AMANDA PEET plays Claire's sister who smokes and fools around with Embry.
  • ADAM SCOTT plays the young and inexperienced military attorney who's assigned to Tom's case and fools around with Jackie.
  • BRUCE DAVISON plays the officer who was in charge of Tom's unit years ago and is now a general who attempts to blow off Claire and her accusations.
  • JUAN CARLOS HERNANDEZ plays Tom's commanding officer from years earlier who may or may not have been involved in the past murderous deeds.
  • MICHAEL GASTON plays the military's lead prosecutor on Tom's case.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG-13 rated dramatic thriller. Profanity consists of at least 16 uses of the "s" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Some sexually related dialogue is present, while some sexual activity/fooling around is either partially seen (a married couple preparing to have sex) or occurs off screen/is implied. Some partial female nudity and scantily clad women are seen in various scenes (regarding some strippers and hookers).

    Violence consists of various people being shot (in present day as well as flashback footage), with some blood being seen on the victim's clothing, while several are killed in an explosion (seen in flashback). Non-lethal fighting and beating of others is also present, and some of those scenes and others may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while some smoke and/or drink, with one of the major characters falling off the wagon and resuming his alcoholism. Some tense family scenes are also present (including a car accident that results in a miscarriage and a wife discovering she really doesn't know her husband).

    Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People drink in a bar where Claire holds two beers for her and Tom.
  • People drink in a restaurant where Claire and Tom have wine with their dinner.
  • We learn that Charlie's a recovering alcoholic, and he states he's been sober for 462 days.
  • People drink in a strip club.
  • A former soldier and two hookers drink and the man wonders if Charlie is going to join them and drink what's in his cup. After some moments of pondering just that, Charlie does drink and we then see him and the others laughing from drinking even more.
  • Later, Charlie shows up drunk at Claire's place and offers her what looks like some champagne, but she declines as she states she's trying to get pregnant. He says he's not, so he apparently drinks some more.
  • Jackie has a drink that Charlie finishes.
  • People in a bar drink.
  • We see a near empty bottle of liquor in Charlie's place.
  • Claire finds Charlie drunk and still drinking in a bar.
  • Various people drink at a military reception.
  • We see that Claire and Tom have had some champagne.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • In various instances of flashback footage, we see various dead bodies on the ground with some blood on their clothing (some in color, one in black and white).
  • Claire has a bad black eye after being hit in the face.
  • Charlie has some blood on his face after being attacked.
  • In a flashback to a café bombing, we see some dead and slightly bloody bodies in the wreckage.
  • We see blood on a person's shirt after they're shot and then later see some blood running from their mouth.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Those responsible for the deaths of innocent people in the past, along with those trying to cover up the truth and prevent/intimidate others from learning it, obviously have extreme cases of both types of attitudes.
  • After hearing intruders in their house, Tom slowly goes down the stairs to investigate and sees two young men break a window and then escape through it.
  • We hear that Charlie had an affair with his former superior's wife in the past.
  • An officer lies on the stand during the trial.
  • Charlie gets a woman to hide a tape recorder in a man's room to record his comments illegally.
  • A former soldier refers to some villagers of the past as "wetbacks."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Some intruders break into Tom and Claire's house.
  • We see the point of view of someone watching Claire's house.
  • As Claire walks down the road after a jog, she realizes an old pickup truck is right behind her. She then tries to run away and bangs on a door for help as the truck stays near her.
  • After spotting a person in a parked car watching her at night, Claire rushes to get into her house and then calls the police as she hears someone jiggling the doorknob.
  • Claire accepts a ride from a stranger who takes her off to a deserted place at night and briefly acts threateningly toward her.
  • As Claire drives Charlie at night, a person in a vehicle in front of them suddenly sprays their car and the road with oil. That causes Claire's vehicle to go out of control, tumble down an embankment and land in a body of water. We then later see that the two of them were somewhat injured, with the accident causing Claire to have a miscarriage.
  • Claire gets a call from Charlie about a killer who's there with her. She then tries to act calm around that man who knows she knows about him. He then grabs her by the face and she smashes a drinking glass against his head. As she flees, he jumps and tackles her. He then holds one hand over her mouth and her arm behind her back and takes her into a building where he pins her to a sofa and ties her arms behind her. He then prepares to kill her, but is shot by someone else instead. Those two people then get into a fight where they hit each other many times (with fists, elbows and other objects) and one gets the other into a chokehold. The gunshot victim eventually falls dead to the ground and Claire frees herself and holds a gun on the other person.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Assault weapons/Explosive: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Give a sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "Dumb sh*t," "Piss the judge off," "Freaked out," "Where the hell...?" "Nuts" (crazy), "Go to Hell," "What the hell /was that/is this?" "Bastards," "Who the hell /cares/knows why?" "Bitch," Wetbacks," "My ass," "Screw" (nonsexual), "Pain in the ass," "You smug son of a bitch" and "Shut up."
  • Claire gives "the finger" to passing troops who make comments/sounds as she jogs past them.
  • Charlie gets a woman to hide a tape recorder in a man's room to record his comments illegally.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Someone suddenly hits Claire on the head.
  • Something suddenly hits a car's windshield.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 16 "s" words, 3 slang terms for sex ("bang," "did someone" and "screwing"), 14 hells, 4 asses, 3 damns, 1 S.O.B., 5 uses of "Oh my God," 4 of "G-damn," and 1 use each of "Jesus" and "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • After apparently discovering that she's ovulating, Claire goes and finds Tom and tells him that they have 15 minutes to conceive (she also mentions something about a certain amount of time with her hips elevated after they're done). She then climbs on him on a sofa, but then mentions that it's supposed to work better if he's on top (he then gets on top of her). We see them in a torso and up shot as they kiss before having sex (which we don't see).
  • We see Claire in just a short nightgown as Tom (who's shirtless) goes to investigate sounds of a break-in at their house at night.
  • A hooker - one of Charlie's clients - walks into his office, showing a lot of cleavage. Charlie comments that every time she turns around she has "some private's privates standing at attention." This woman then thinks Claire's a hooker too and asks if she "did someone" at the base (Claire says she did, because she's married to Tom).
  • Jackie shows a little cleavage, and later we see her in just her small panties and a tight top (as Embry walks in).
  • It's somewhat implied that Claire and Tom might fool around in some meeting room as she states that they're in a secure room (meaning no one knows what they're doing or saying there).
  • Claire goes to see Embry who opens the door shirtless and looks flustered. We then see Jackie show up at the door, wearing just Embry's dress jacket (we briefly see part of the inside of her bare breast as well as her panties as the jacket comes open). Some accidental and purposeful double entendres are made with him saying he's all "up for it" (working on the case) and Jackie stating that she was just going over his "briefs." As Claire leaves, Jackie calls out that Claire gets to be the lawyer and that she (Jackie) gets to "bang" one.
  • In a strip club, we see various partial views of women's bodies in tiny/revealing outfits (bikini/thong bottoms) that show a great deal of skin and the lower portion of their mostly bare rear ends.
  • Claire makes a comment about Jackie "screwing" Embry.
  • A prostitute shows cleavage and we then see her and another hooker with a former soldier. We don't know if anything sexual happens between any of them (there's some caressing, but that's it), although we later see one of the hookers with what looks like just a towel or sheet wrapped around her, the other removes a top layer of clothing and reveals some cleavage, and the man is shirtless.
  • SMOKING
  • Jackie smokes around 5 times, while several miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • In some flashback footage, we see a woman grieving over what are apparently dead relatives of hers.
  • Claire worries about her husband and the truth about him.
  • Both Claire and Tom react to news that she had a miscarriage.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The military court system as compared to the civilian one and whether Claire would be allowed to represent her husband.
  • There's some brief talk about a rape suspect and a former rape victim being on his jury.
  • Miscarriages.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Secrets and whether you really know anyone completely.
  • VIOLENCE
  • In various instances of flashback footage, we see various dead bodies on the ground with some blood on their clothing.
  • After hearing intruders in their house, Tom slowly goes down the stairs to investigate and sees two young men break a window and then escape through it.
  • Police and FBI agents set off some sort of small explosive and then pull their guns on Tom and Claire and force both down onto the street at night.
  • We see a flashback to a café in El Salvador where a grenade (or similar explosive) is thrown in, resulting in an explosion that kills at least 3 people (we briefly see one being blown aside by the blast).
  • In another flashback, we see an American soldier shooting some villagers (we see the bullet impact and see the bodies falling to the ground, but the results aren't overly graphic beyond some blood on the clothing from the wounds).
  • Someone suddenly hits Claire on the head that then bangs into something else on her way to the floor. A masked man then holds a gun to her head, but is scared off by Embry at the door (that he kicks open).
  • Tom slams Hernandez's head to a table. Hernandez then strikes Tom several times and the two struggle (with Hernandez biting Tom's hand) before being separated.
  • A man punches Charlie and we then hear more punching and kicking as several men continue to attack him on the ground. He's a bit bloody after the attack.
  • Jackie throws her drink into Embry's face when mad at him.
  • We see more flashback footage of a soldier shooting villagers and then two other soldiers struggling with him.
  • A stranger grabs Claire by the face when he believes she's reaching for something.
  • In a flashback to the above café bombing, we see some dead and slightly bloody bodies in the wreckage.
  • As Claire drives Charlie at night, a person in a vehicle in front of them suddenly sprays their car and the road with oil. That causes Claire's vehicle to go out of control, tumble down an embankment and land in a body of water. We then later see that the two of them were somewhat injured, with the accident causing Claire to have a miscarriage.
  • We see another flashback of villagers being shot.
  • Claire gets a call from Charlie about a killer who's there with her. She then tries to act calm around that man who knows she knows about him. He then grabs her by the face and she smashes a drinking glass against his head. As she flees, he jumps and tackles her. He then holds one hand over her mouth and her arm behind her back and takes her into a building where he pins her to a sofa and ties her arms behind her. He then prepares to kill her, but is shot by someone else instead. Those two people then get into a fight where they hit each other many times (with fists, elbows and other objects) and one gets the other into a chokehold. The gunshot victim eventually falls dead to the ground and Claire frees herself and holds a gun on the other person.



  • Reviewed April 4, 2002 / Posted April 5, 2002

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