The Guilty

Starring: Bill Pullman, Devon Sawa, Gabrielle Anwar & Joanne Whalley
Mosaic Entertainment


Certificate: 15
Available now

Crane, a top criminal lawyer (with the emphasis on criminal), rapes his new secretary and then arranges to have her killed when she threatens to destroy his new posting as a judge. Nathan, a young man just released from jail for car theft, gets the job. He is looking for his real father who happens to be the lawyer, and befriends two women, one of whom happens to be the rape victim. Before even learning the identity of his target, Nathan decides not to go through with it, but an associate who desperately needs the money takes the down-payment and carries out the hit. When Nathan arrives too late to save her, he is blamed for the murder...

Were you paying attention there, because I'll be asking questions later. The fact is the above describes just part of this intricate plot. There are more twists and turns in this movie than... well, a twisty-turny thing. None of the action really succeeds in pulling off a surprise, and you can't help feeling that it's too predictable. However, the performances are strong and the pace rockets along, pulling you with it. Even the commercial rock songs mix well with the incidental music, all of which suit the mood of the piece well.

Behind the majority of the scheming is Crane, who manipulates most of the other characters into acting out his own private puppet show. He steers the hitman into the lap of gangsters, sends his illegitimate son into a police trap, and even manages a convenient divorce with his wife. But the reason why there is no such thing as the perfect murder is nobody can possibly foresee all events; there's always a random factor which materialises to confound the best planning, and that's what we get here.

In short then, a movie with far too many convenient coincidences, which nevertheless succeeds in putting its story across well.

Ty Power