Jesse Metcalfe in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009)

Far Too Many Doubts

C.J. Nicholas (Jesse Metcalfe) is an ambitious rookie TV journalist who wants to be doing hard hitting pieces rather than fluff pieces on whether gourmet coffee is worth the money. It is why Nicholas is interested in district attorney, Mark Hunter (Michael Douglas) who is politically ambitious as Hunter's perfect record of securing convictions makes Nicholas suspicious that Hunter is planting evidence. To complicate matters is the fact that Nicholas has a thing for assistant D.A. Ella Crystal (Amber Tamblyn) who is unaware of what he is planning. That plan leads to Nicholas deciding to play a dangerous game as he frames himself for a murder in order to prove that Hunter is corrupt with Ella becoming the key to not only proving Nicholas is innocent but Hunter is crooked. But in doing so Ella not only has to deal with a big decision but it leads to her life being in danger.

There is a sex scene in "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt", the 2009 movie of that name, and some would say it was tastefully done with it lit in such a way that it is almost silhouetted, and choreographed so a young actress can preserve her modesty. And I have no objection to that but like saxophone music in 80s thrillers this type of film making is routine as a journalist showing up to a crime scene where for some reason the police sirens are still going despite the vehicles being stationary, guess we need that audio signal to tell us the cops are there with the flashing police lights not being enough. What I am getting at is that "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" is workman like, using genre standards rather than getting creative which is probably why it didn't get a big theatrical release.

Michael Douglas in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009)

But of course I have gotten ahead of myself as there is another movie by the name of "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt", that being the 1956 Fritz Lang thriller starring Dana Andrews and Joan Fontaine. But this 2009 movie of the same name is not a direct remake but instead uses the theme of a man trying to prove that justice can be flawed, or in this case corrupt with a last minute get out of jail with the truth except of course things don't go to plan when it gets to the squeaky bum moments. The idea was and still is a good one but unfortunately the way this movie goes about things lacks shall we say some finesse. Actually let me just say that when C.J. Nicholas and his pal go about constructing evidence to clear his name it had the ineptitude of an episode of "Jack Ass".

The troubles with "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" continue with the casting of Jesse Metcalfe, a pleasant actor in the right movie but for me this isn't the right movie or at least not the right role as not once did I believe C.J. Nicholas as an ambitious investigative journalist due to Metcalfe being too likeable. Unfortunately believability is also an issue when it comes to Amber Tamblyn as again I just wasn't convinced by her performance as an assistant D.A.. Fortunately elsewhere it is better and Michael Douglas is on fine sinister form as Hunter as is Orlando Jones in the one good cop type of role.

What this all boils down to is that "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" makes me feel like it was a movie that they lost faith in which is a shame as with the right casting and attention to detail it would have been a nice update on an old idea. But in the end "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" feels like just a routine, workman like thriller.