Tom Logan (Robert Redford) is a successful prosecuting attorney, who is about to promoted to DA. However, antagonistic defence lawyer Laura Kelly (Debra Winger) asks him to help her on a case involving Chelsea Deardon (Darryl Hannah), a young woman who has been accused of stealing a valuable piece of art. As Tom and Laura delve further into the case, they discover that it involves fraud and murder….and Tom’s chances of making DA are looking slimmer and slimmer…
When this film was released, it opened to mixed reviews. Neither Redford nor Winger were happy with it, and at times it does seem as though it doesn’t know whether it’s a frothy romantic comedy, or a semi-serious legal thriller. There are also some fairly obvious plot inconsistencies.
Despite this, I really enjoyed the film…it has a definite charm, and certainly made me laugh. Whether it’s true that Redford and Winger did not get on off-screen or not (as has been rumoured), they do have chemistry together, and bounced off each other well. There were some lovely scenes – the scene where both Tom and Laura, both in their own homes, are unable to sleep, was one of my favourite parts. Most of the supporting cast – including Terence Stamp as a shady art dealer, and Brian Dennehy as a police officer with his own agenda – were great too, although Darryl Hannah was practically catatonic. I imagine she was picked for the role at least partly for her looks, and in other films she has been great, but she was the definite weak link in the cast for this.
Still, as mentioned earlier, despite all the obvious flaws of this film, I liked it a lot. It’s a good watch if you want something amusing and not too demanding, and I would definitely see it again. I can imagine that people might find it annoying, for legitimate reasons, but for some reason, it worked for me.
(Interestingly, this film started out as a documentary about the legal wrangling over the estate of artist Mark Rothko. Somewhere along the line, it took a very different turn!)
Year of release: 1986
Director: Ivan Reitman
Producers: Ivan Reitman, Michael C. Gross, Joe Medjuck, Arne Glimcher, Sheldon Kahn
Writers: Ivan Reitman, Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr
Main cast: Robert Redford, Debra Winger, Darryl Hannah, Terence Stamp, Brian Dennehy