Watch: Primal Fear 1996 123movies, Full Movie Online – When a young man, Aaron, is charged with the horrific murder of Archbishop Rushman, hot-shot Chicago lawyer Martin Vail takes on his defense at no charge. Aaron was a homeless street kid before he was taken in by the Archbishop. He’s shy and speaks with a stammer. Vail is convinced that Aaron is innocent but after discovering a video that shows Aaron may have had good reason to want the Archbishop dead, he begins to question that conclusion. When Aaron lashes out at the psychologist examining him another personality, Roy, is revealed. With the trial already underway, Vail cannot change Aaron plea and so has to find a way to introduce his client’s condition. Aaron has something of a surprise for him as well..
Plot: An arrogant, high-powered attorney takes on the case of a poor altar boy found running away from the scene of the grisly murder of the bishop who has taken him in. The case gets a lot more complex when the accused reveals that there may or may not have been a third person in the room.
Smart Tags: #altar_boy #murder_trial #courtroom #stuttering #amnesia #manipulation #deception #judicial #lawyer #priest #trial #feigned_mental_illness #sexual_exploitation #faking_illness #jail #cover_story #bad_guy_wins #federal_prosecutor #mutilation #playing_pool #dissociative_identity_disorder
|7.7/10 Votes: 217,463|
|77% | RottenTomatoes|
|47/100 | MetaCritic|
|N/A Votes: 2686 Popularity: 20.972 | TMDB|
Exceptionally good all around
If you want to see excellent acting in the service of an involving well told story this is a good place to start. Across the board there is not one weak performance. Gere has one of his very best roles as a fame loving attorney who chases a headline case that is more than he bargained for. He and the Laura Linney spar and parry both in and out of court with wonderful brio, she is his equal even if he is loath to admit it and the actress’s personal strong persona fits the role perfectly. In a star making performance Edward Norton grabs his part by the throat and runs with it, a brilliant job and one that marked him as a true talent to watch. Each secondary roles is filled with top drawer character actors-Frances McDormand as an understanding therapist, Maura Tierney and Andre Braugher as Gere’s assistants and on and on all deliver quality work. Alfre Woodard deserves special mention as the no nonsense slightly cantankerous judge who tipples a little on the side. She takes what could have been a throwaway part and makes her both memorable and humorous. A little overlong you won’t notice so good is the acting and once it gets going the story keeps the interest level high.
Edward Norton could not have picked a better film in which to debut.
Primal Fear, directed by Gregory Hoblit, written by Steve Shagan and Ann Biderman is based on the book by William Diehl. Primal Fear is one of the few examples of a psychological thriller with young, new talent shinning in a film with a great script and excellent direction. Edward Norton could not have picked a better film in which to debut.
When Arch Bishop Rushmen is murdered in his office, a young parishioner, Aaron Stampler, is found running from the scene covered in blood. The police follow him to a train yard where he is eventually arrested. When Stampler, expertly played by Edward Norton, is captured by the police he is obviously terrified, unexpectedly meek, and can’t make eye contact. Stampler’s prominent stutter and introverted personality make his guilt difficult to digest.
Richard Gere’s character, the smarmy defense attorney Richard Vail, sees the capture on the local news and decides to represent Stampler pro-bono for the publicity. He leaves his cover page interview to get to Stampler’s cell before any other defense attorney does. The first half of the movie plays like a thrilling murder trial drama. District Attorney, Janet Venable, played by Laura Linney, tirelessly and doggedly pursues Stampler. Evidence is covertly and excitingly collected. Light is shined on different aspects of the case by both the DA and the defense attorney.
Vail tracks down another alter boy who tells him the sins of the Arch Diocese and that he taped them. Vail gets the video and it rocks the case from a simple church slaying to a complicated case of blame the victim. This is only one of the first masterfully written plot turns that keeps you on the edge of your seat and unable to truly grasp the situation fully.
Vail orders a psychological evolution for Stampler. The interview brings to surface a Stampler’s mental illness. When Stampler’s mental illness (I won’t ruin it for you) is revealed to his psychologist, it is horrifying and rocks the viewer with an unexpected jolt. His guilt or innocence is no longer easy to figure out and isn’t a case of black or white. The rest of the courtroom drama rests on your perception of the guilt or innocence of Aaron Stampler.
Courtroom drama isn’t the only drama. Interrelated to the case there is a subplot about rich business men, murder, church corruption and mobsters. Yeah, it could go downhill fast and sounds cheeseball but it works. The subplot gives Vail motivation for passionately defending his client.
Richard Gere flawlessly plays the grandiloquent Vail. Vail must believe, disbelieve, question, and wonder about Stampler’s guilt. Even so, Gere’s acting never misses the mark. He gives new meaning to smarmy and surprise. Even so, his acting is far outshined by Edward Norton’s disturbing performance.
Edward Norton’s character ranges from pitiful to downright scary. The challenge of Norton’s character is portraying a man who might be guilty but making it so hard to conceive that your mind can’t get around it. Portraying a person with the mental illness (I’m still not going to tell you) Stampler has is extremely difficult to do with out turning the part into a poltergeistic mess but Norton leaves you with your mouth hanging open, unable to speak. It is no wonder that Norton was nominated for an Academy Award for this role.
Gregory Hoblit’s direction is worthy of applause. The fragile nature of all the relationships is a thread he had to walk like a tightrope. Each actor’s performance would have devastated the film if it were over or underacted. Still, Hoblit was able to get passion and coldness at the exact level the character, the relationships and the film required. It was as if he wanted his direction to cook the perfect omelet. Too long in the pan and it’s rubber, too short and it’s soupy, just right and it’s breakfast.
This film is an exceptional work of cinematic art. Every character is multi-dimensional, perfectly written and wonderfully acted. I could watch this movie over and over again and it doesn’t lose a thing.
Original Language en
Runtime 2 hr 9 min (129 min)
Genre Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director Gregory Hoblit
Writer William Diehl, Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman
Actors Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Edward Norton
Country United States
Awards Nominated for 1 Oscar. 10 wins & 12 nominations total
Production Company N/A
Sound Mix Dolby Digital
Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1
Camera Panavision Panaflex Gold II, Panavision Ultra Speed MKII Lenses
Laboratory DeLuxe, Hollywood (CA), USA (prints)
Film Length 3,500 m (Italy), 3,649 m
Negative Format 35 mm (Eastman EXR 500T 5298)
Cinematographic Process Spherical
Printed Film Format 35 mm