Double Jeopardy DVD

Hell hath no fury like a woman scored, and Libby Parsons is furious. Libby has just been framed for the murder of her husband, and now she has to stew in prison. You can’t blame Libby for being mad.


doublejeopardyHer seemingly perfect life has come crashing down around her, and everything she holds near and dear, including her young son and freedom, have been taken away from her. While incarcerated, Libby begins

to smell a rat, and with the help of some fellow prisoners, begins to set a trap.

Welcome to the derivative world of “Double Jeopardy,” a new film that feels extremely geriatric.

Definitely a case of been there, done that, “Double Jeopardy” reminded me of so many other films I wasn’t sure if the writers were paying homage or just taking the easy route by ripping them off.

First and foremost, “Double Jeopardy” is “The Fugitive” with Jugs. Wait, I meant Judd, Ashley Judd. She

plays Libby, the young, beautiful wife of Nick Parsons, (Bruce Greenwood), a successful businessman who

share a comfortable life with their four-year-old son.

During a weekend outing on a boat, Libby is horrified when she wakes up and discovers her husband gone

and that she is covered in blood. Libby faces enough circumstantial evidence to send her up the river for

Nick’s murder. Of course she’s innocent, but that doesn’t stop her from spending six years in prison.

In prison, Libby meets fellow prisoner Margaret (Roma Maffia), a former attorney who helps Libby learn

the ropes. When Libby discovers the truth behind Nick’s disappearance, Margaret clues her in on a legal

loophole. Since Libby has already been convicted of killing Nick, she can’t be tried a second time should

she decide to off Nick for real.

The legal loophole is actually a contrivance by the writers, who use numerous such devices to advance the story. The first part of the film reminded me of those cheesy Women Behind Bars melodramas with Ida Lupino. Logic is chucked out the window in order to frame, convict and sentence Libby.

That leaves writers David Weisberg and Douglas S. Cook plenty of time for Libby to track down Nick

and her son, all the time evading her parole officer, played by Tommy Lee Jones. So basically we have an

innocent person framed for the murder of their spouse, who spends the rest of the film evading a law

enforcement officer while trying to prove their innocence.

Hmm, where have I seen that before?

I don’t necessarily mind that the writers have ripped off “The Fugitive.” If you’re going to steal, at least

steal from the best. What taunts me is that “Double Jeopardy” is played out so matter-of-fact that there’s

little room left for originality or true suspense.

You know going in where the film is headed, and despite a couple of minor side trips, the road has been

paved with cliches and predictability. The events and characters are so familiar you leave the theater with a feeling of deja vu.

It doesn’t help matters that director Bruce Beresford treats all of this like a walk in the park rather than a

suspenseful game of cat and mouse. The film looks great, but despite some genuine theatrical flourishes,

seems trite and unnecessary. It’s hard to invest in characters when their fate has been predestined.

Judd is such a natural actress that she manages to make Libby more dimensional than the screenplay

allows. She finds nuance in the quiet scenes, and displays grit and determination when her character

finally rises to the occasion.

Even though Jones remains one of my favorite actors, you feel like he’s slumming here. His role as good

ole’ boy parole officer Travis Lehman is nothing more than a twist on his Sam Gerard character in “The

Fugitive.” Jones has played that role three times now, and “Double Jeopardy” is definitely a case of going

to the well once too often.

The writers seem overly concerned with plot mechanics rather than character motivation. They’re more

interested in getting characters from point A to point B rather than their motivation for making the trip. If

they don’t care, why should we?

Old fashioned and predictable, “Double Jeopardy” is the kind of film Hollywood used to make back in the

40’s, with someone like Joan Crawford or Bette Davis as the wronged woman seeking revenge. Hollywood

still makes these kinds of films. They’re usually made for Lifetime cable, where such relics aren’t forced

to face the same scrutiny as their silver screen counterparts.

One would tend to believe that elevating this type of fare to the big screen would give it more edge. That assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth.

COMPLETE CHECK-UP

VISION: Excellent

check.gif (406 bytes) 2.35:1 Widescreen

check.gif (406 bytes) 16×9 Enhanced

check.gif (406 bytes) RSDL

Pleasing digital transfer captures the film’s gorgeous cinematography is all of its glory. The colors are

absolutely vibrant and live, while the whites and shadows are clean. Small amount of flecking at the

beginning, but no trace of compression artifacts. Clean negative allows for a pristine transfer, with strong

and dependable blacks and lifelike flesh tones. Depth of field is deep, while attention to detail is strong

and always evident, especially in the forest and water scenes. The reds and blues are brilliant, while the

golden hues are warm and inviting.

HEARING: Good

check.gif (406 bytes) English Dolby Digital 5.1

check.gif (406 bytes) English & French Dolby Digital 2.0

Expressive soundtrack gets the job done without showing off. The surround effects are strong, but not

always present. The rear speaker action is alive with action, including musical and dialogue cues and the

occasional surround effect. Spatial separation is decent but not powerful, while the low and high ends are

clean and effective. Dialogue mix is strong and clean. Crisp, clear sound up and down the scale.

ORAL: Good

check.gif (406 bytes) Closed Captions in English for the Hard of Hearing

COORDINATION: Good

check.gif (406 bytes) Handsome main and scene access menus

check.gif (406 bytes) Traditional yet interesting behind-the-scenes featurette

check.gif (406 bytes) Theatrical trailer

PROGNOSIS: Fit

check.gif (406 bytes) Even though I wasn’t a big fan of the film, it still grossed enough at the box office to justify a purchase from fans.

VITALS:

check.gif (406 bytes) $29.99/Rated R/105m/Color/16 Chapter Stops/Keepcase

ATTENDING RESIDENT: John Larsen

PATIENT: DOUBLE JEOPARDY

BIRTH DATE: 1999

HMO: Paramount Home Video



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