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Above Suspicion

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Above Suspicion

Starring: Christopher Reeve, Joe Mantegna
Director: Steve Schachter
Rated: R
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: May 1995
Genres: Mystery, Suspense

*Also starring: Kim Cattrall, Edward Kerr, Finola Hughes

Review by Dragan Antulov
1 star out of 4

Fate can play cruel jokes on people, and the actors aren't exception. In 1995 Christopher Reeve, actor best known for playing lead character in SUPERMAN films, filled headlines after suffering terrible riding accident that left him paraplegic. It turned out that one of his last roles before the accident required him to play wheelchair-bound character in ABOVE SUSPICION, 1995 cable television thriller directed by Steven Schachter.

Protagonist of the film is Dempsey (played by Christopher Reeve), superb police detective who is loving father and caring husband. Family considerations, on the other hand, don't prevent his brother Nick (played by Edward Kerr) from having an affair with Dempsey's wife Gail (played by Kim Cattrall). One day, during a routine bust, Dempsey is shot and paralysed. Knowing that he would have to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, Dempsey decides to commit suicide and provide for his family in the process. He approaches Gail and Nick and asks them to help him in his plan to end his life by staging his suicide as apparent murder. Motivated less by compassion and more by huge insurance policy, adulterous couple decides to participate only to find themselves as targets of Dempsey's diabolical scheme. Dempsey has committed a perfect crime, but his former colleague Rhineheart (played by Joe Mantegna) is convinced that the apparently helpless cripple, who happens to be the most experienced homicide investigator, staged the whole thing. But proving his suspicions is going to be much harder than he has anticipated.

The script, which was written by Jerry Lazarus, Steven Schachter and actor William H. Macy (who plays the role of prosecutor in the film) had some potential. However, suspension of disbelief, necessary for viewers to enjoy this film, is forever marred by the real-life events that put the entire plot of the film into completely different perspective. But this is not the only problem of ABOVE SUSPICION. Director Schachter is not able to make his mind whether to make this film as straightforward thriller, police action film or courtroom drama. Genre confusion is not much helped by low budget that makes this film look much cheaper than it should be. Great performances by Reeve and Joe Mantegna as relentless investigator aren't reason enough to watch this routine product of cable television. In the end, ABOVE SUSPICION is a film that could be recommended only to those who want to satisfy their morbid curiosity.

Copyright 2001 Dragan Antulov

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