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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Reversal of Fortune (1990)


Those damn Germans, always causing trouble.

The enigmatic Claus von Bülow (Jeremy Irons) stands accused of putting his wife, Sunny (Glenn Close), into a perpetual coma with an insulin overdose. Claus hires hard-charging attorney Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver), who scrambles to defend his client — with help from some impassioned Harvard law students — while Sunny narrates flashbacks that shed light on the events that lead to her condition.

The whole film has a plot line that seems it should almost be a tragic drama. However, it combines that weird element of satire and docudrama. I mean its a weird combination, that at some points doesn’t quite work out the best in ways, but still is entertaining.

The praise of this film goes to Director Barbet Schroeder who makes this film a lot of different things, but mostly all just effective. He has this story told with so many flashbacks, and doesn’t leave out a detail that we feel as most that we are the lawyers in this film as well. The movie remains all ambiguous about what actually happened to Sunny, but we still get this feeling as to nothing is right.

I also enjoyed how many courtroom dramas that we know, like A Time To Kill and Primal Fear, all end up in the big courtroom scene, where as this is more about what goes on outside of the courtroom. We see all of the prepping, investigating, and questioning that goes into these cases, and it actually surprises me onto how much the lawyers themselves create so many stories, just to find out the truth.

However, I did have many multiple problems with this film. These “cutesy” students with their quips and their basketball and their sitting crossed-legged on coffee tables were annoying. Even Silver/Dershowitz was irritating with his persistent agonizing and flittering. Also, throughout this film the speed actually sped up, and I was more taken into this film. Then surprisingly, it got slower, and slower, without any real pace at all.

I have to give the most praise to Jeremy Irons, who actually did deserve that Oscar he was given. Although, I think Costner still gave almost a better performance with his material, Irons plays this character with such simplicity and realism, that its actually hard to tell on whether or not he actually did it. You want to hate this guy, cause of the way of his lifestyle, but yet he is so charming and cool that you actually want to be like him in a way. I think a nomination for Best Supporting Actress should have been given to Close, cause with the very few scenes she gets she actually brings out a lot of emotion, that actually has us caring for her character.

Consensus: Though its pace is all over the place and story is bit off setting, this strange film does well with its direction from Schroeder, wonderful writing, and most of all powerful performances from Irons and Close.

8/10=Matinee!!!

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3 responses to “Reversal of Fortune (1990)

  1. Darren March 26, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I love Jeremy Irons, it’s a shame he doesn’t really work that much anymore. He won an Oscar for this, but I think it’s generally conceded that he should have won for his work in Dead Ringers – and I think that’s fair, but it isn’t the type of movie the Academy nominates, I suppose.

  2. gelpi2010 July 29, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I remember watching the trial on TV. I think you appreciate the work of Irons and Silver more if your are familiar with the real characters – Dershowitz is that annoying!

    I thought Close deserved a Best Supporting actress nomination. She was really good. Irons’s Oscar was very predictable, I believe he got a standing ovation. Costner was never a serious treat.

    • CMrok93 July 30, 2010 at 3:15 am

      I never really was that familiar with the people in real life, but Irons does play it well, and did deserve the Oscar, as well as Close should have gotten at least a nomination.

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