Film Review © 1999 by Trip Reynolds
Directed by Bruce Beresford; Screenplay by David Weisberg and Douglas S. Cook
Starring Tommy Lee Jones (as parole officer, Travis Lehman), Ashley Judd (as socialite, felon and fugitive, Libby Parsons), Bruce Greenwood (as Libby's husband, con man and murderer, Nick Parsons), Annabeth Gish (as Libby's best friend, Angie, guardian to her child while incarcerated, and back-stabbing lover to Nick).
Isn't the film going public tired of seeing Tommy Lee Jones run. Of late, that's what he does in his films. Like some bull dog, he runs, chases after Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, aliens, and now, Ashley Judd's character Libby Parsons. Alert Hollywood: A chase does not constitute a story.
In a nutshell, this is a story of a financially over-extended husband, Nick (stylishly played by Bruce Greenwood) who, to collect money through an insurance fraud, frames his loving wife, Libby, as his murderer; and, upon her escape and pursuit by an old and cranky washed-up parole officer, Travis, film follows Libby's on-the-edge-of-your-seat Perils of Pauline cliffhanging pursuit of her lying, sneaky, scoundrel of a husband, and his mistress, in hope of getting back her son.
Ultimately discovering her husband is not dead, and despite acquiring evidence, Libby never fully engages help from law enforcement officials or civil authorities to validate her discovery and innocence. This is nothing more than a blatant, stupid script convention. Instead, to get back her son, this escaped parolee and convicted felon she pursues a very public, one-on-one, meeting with her husband, who has acquired a new identity. If Libby gets her son back, then what? Live the remainder of their lives as fugitives? This was a very stupid scene and both Ashley Judd and her character Libby are too smart for this pathetic attempt to produce tension and conflict between key characters. Jones' Travis Lehman begins to pickup Libby's scent, including her husband's dual identities, but not until the last reel. Wow, this film enables you to watch a very credible actor like Tommy Lee Jones get paid millions while insulting your intelligence. Of course, Jones didn't write the script.
Film has fine production values and technical credits but, again script is, frankly - dumb. A thinking audience will probably find it an insult to their intelligence. For example, despite a couple scenes to establish the idea, "air head" lover Angie, as played by Annabeth Gish, doesn't remotely fit the part of someone shrewd enough to make her best friend's son understand why his mother (Libby) went to prison for killing the father his "guardian" is sleeping with. You got that? This film is a convoluted mess.
Film is directed capably by Bruce Beresford.
Film is stoically paced through a running length of 105 minutes.
Recommendation: It's strictly a cable movie!