Remember in the '80s when a film called "JAGGED EDGE" received such high praise for being an "intelligent thriller?" Well, no one's going to make that mistake when thinking about "HIGH CRIMES," just released on blu-ray from FOX. Ashley Judd plays Claire, a big-time lawyer, with everything seeming to be going towards a perfect life. A good looking, loving husband(an aspiring love scene early on), and a stone's throw away from being rewarded a partnership at the firm she's working at, all seem too good to be true. Her life gets twisted upside down, when her husband, Tom, is arrested by the FBI, sent off to a military prison, and she discovers "Tom" is actually a Sgt. Chapman, suspected of killing 9 innocent people during a special ops procedure in El Salvador. Being the great lawyer, she joins her husband's defense, and with the help of an ex-Marine lawyer, Charlie(Morgan Freeman) uncover a vast conspiracy! For a conspiracy plot to work, it has to be plausible. And, for a thriller to work, it has to thrill! No such case here! Everything that happens, happens very sl--o--w--l-y, and it's never surprising. All the life has been drained out of this project and it's even sadder to find the director, Carl Franklin, responsible for great films, phones it in here! Freeman playing the old tired caricature of the "has been" lawyer, semi-mistaken as all washed up(and the inherent "drinking problem"), is just embarrassing to watch. Judd, although very good in "small" roles(HEAT) can't carry a great film, let alone a troubled one like this! Amanda Peet, never a very good actress, but adequate in "SYRIANA" is also embarassing to watch here, and her character is completely ridiculous, adding nothing to any aspect of the film!
It's amazing to find this film was every released, let alone transferred to blu-ray before so many other GREAT FOX catalogue titles, but there's no accounting for taste.
FOX has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray. Although a few scenes appear dull, the vast majority of this transfer is outstanding. Colors are rich and the thin level of grain actually adds in creating a film-like appearance. Detail is often astounding, with many jump-off-the-screen images. In fact, other than an intentionally dull-looking flashback scene, this image is never flat. Contrast is also excellent, with great depth in even the darkest moments, thanks to inky blacks.
FOX has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. Being essentially a court-room drama, one shouldn't expect an aggressive mix. Most separation is delegated to the front speakers. However, ambient effects, music and bass kick in at appropriate moments, creating a momentary perception the film might actually become better than it is. No such luck!
The director, Franklin, provides a commentary, and as amiable as the guy is, unfortunately, he's still discussing his worst film.
Other featurettes, exploring the polygraph, differences between military and civilian trials, the difference between the novel and script, etc., are all included, in standard resolution. All of these extras are actually worth viewing, and far more intriguing than the film.