Through all of these years I have watched and loved Edward Norton movies. Then I wonder where was his start? Now I found out, its in a courtroom drama starring my all-time favorite (sarcasm), Richard Gere.
Primal Fear is a 1996 motion picture which tells a story of a defense attorney (Richard Gere) who defends an altar boy (Edward Norton) charged with the murder of a Catholic archbishop. On the other side of the courtroom defending the archbishop is Gere’s ex-girlfriend, played by Laura Linney.
The film does not take full part inside of the courtroom, most of the time its either outside on the streets or in Norton’s cell. For this film to be truly great and effective I would’ve preferred their to be time inside of the courtroom and have more of the drama stems from inside there. But only about a total of 40 min. from the film is inside the courtroom, and the rest is filmed outside, which I think kills all the suspense and drama this film could’ve really built on.
Richard Gere ,who in case you all know I strongly dislike with a passion, actually does try his hardest to give a grade A performance. Though his character is so egotistical and arrogant its hard to root for him as this case goes on. Though Edward Norton, one of my favorites, does a phenomenal job at portraying Aaron Stampler. You can feel the emotion for this poor character and have a sort of sympathy for him as his case goes along. Laura Linney in her own right does a very respectable job as the one lawyer who fights hard for justice, as they all do.
However, I thought the script was too cliche written and featured many predictable happenings. With a better screenplay and better direction this film could’ve been a total courtroom classic. But in all fairness it’s not, and without an incredible performance by Norton and a crazy twist ending this film would’ve fallen under the waist side.