Making the Grades
You gotta know something is about to go wrong when a movie opens with a happily married couple overflowing with giddiness about trying to have a baby (and we get to share in the first moments of their passionate attempt). Later that same evening, the prominent attorney Claire (Ashley Judd) and her contractor husband Tom (James Caviezel) are awakened by thieves breaking into their home.
The botched burglary sets off a surprising chain of events -- beginning with heavily armed tactical police officers ambushing the couple as they stroll home from shopping. When Tom is arrested on multiple murder charges, Claire is immediately convinced her spouse is an innocent victim of mistaken identity, until she discovers he literally isn't who he said he was.
Tom Kubik is really Ronald Chapman -- a man trained to kill during his Marine Corp days. While admitting to changing his name, he holds firmly to the story that he was avoiding prosecution after becoming the target of a massive setup involving some top brass. Wanting to believe the man she loves, yet unfamiliar with the strict military legal system, Claire hires crusty ex-military lawyer Charlie Grimes (Morgan Freeman) to help her dig for the truth -- which in this case, proves to be a very elusive target.
This "how much worse can it get" thriller is full of flat bad guys in khaki, including a tough prosecutor and stiff judge, who are both anxious to pummel the underdog defense. Meanwhile, our pretty and increasingly paranoid protagonist is never short of shady characters following her home late at night, resulting in too many "made you jump" moments.
While I can't accuse High Crimes' predictable plot for being shot full of holes, I wish I could say the same about the on-screen action. A likely candidate for the honor of "Most On-Screen Shootings in a PG-13 Movie," parents should be aware of the graphic (although not gory) and intense violence in this film. Finally, three-dozen profanities and heady sexual situations (including an implied "threesome" with another male watching) will likely leave this movie in the brig for most families.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about High Crimes.
High Crimes has many elements of on-screen surprise. Movies like this attempt to leave the audience not knowing who to trust, yet if the screenwriter and director use this technique too frequently, what may happen instead?
The character of Ronald Chapman was trained to lie and kill during his military service. Do you think this really happens in the military? If so, are these people safe within society after they are released from active duty? Do you think you could be trained to do such things?