Crime, mystery, drama and suspense should be expected when sitting down to an evening of Richard Gere in “Primal Fear.” No one would ever expect an archbishop would be murdered. Even more surprising would be the reason for the murder. The final twist is who the murderer is and his defense.
An Archbishop is brutally murdered. The reason and murderer is more shocking than one can imagine in “Primal Fear.” Richard Gere plays Martin Vail a hot shot attorney always seeking the next dynamic, career creating case which will give him the most exposure and sure to set his name above all others. When he sees the story released on air, he immediately seeks the victim out to defend him. He knows if he wins this case, it will be one of the biggest of his career.
A tale of murder, intrigue and suspense, “Primal Fear” takes the viewer on an unforeseen ride. When Archbishop Rushman is murdered, a young altar boy is the suspect. Aaron, played by Edward Norton is convincing and strong as a psychotic suffering with multiple personalities. When Martin Vail, takes the case, he is up against his ex girlfriend Janet Venable, played by Laura Linney.
The movie keeps you in suspense. Not once does the viewer want to walk away. Each turn is more convincing and intriguing than the other as their are more twist than suspected with new evidence and more suspects than one can imagine.
From the onset, Edward Norton as Aaron is sure to be the murderer with blood everywhere as he is seen running from detectives and officers. however, as he is captured, the meek altar boy is even more charming a the innocent victim. His persona makes one wonder how can he have done this “Heinous” crime.
Laura Linney gives Gere the one up as a most convincing prosecutor. Her dominant demeanor when resisting the instructions of John Mahoney as Shaughnessy and a former lover of Vail makes her a very interesting and strong character.
The cast is excellent with some very strong stars. Steven Bauer of “Scarface” fame plays the gangster Joey Pinero who is found murdered. With so many hard hitters cast in this movie, it’s very hard to believe “Primal Fear” was released for a budget estimated at a meager $30,000,000. But definitely understandable that it grossed over $115,000,000 the first weekend released.
Richard Gere – Martin Vail
John Mahoney – Shaughnessy
Alfre Woodard – Shoat
Laura Linney – Janet Venable
Frances McDormand – Molly
Edward Norton – Aaron/Roy
Andre Braugher – Tommy Goodman
Steven Bauer – Joey Pinero