Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story (1999)
Guided by Injustice
A woman is founded blooded and frightened on a road, she says she has been raped by a black marine wearing glasses and despite a lack of evidence the marine who matches that description is charged with rape. That is just part of what "Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story" is about it is the "Dangerous Evidence" part as we also have "The Lori Jackson Story" part, a civil rights campaigner who took up his cause. The two make for an enthralling made for TV drama but one which whilst painting a picture of Lori Jackson ends up being dominated by the rape case and the attempt to clear his name.
When the wife of the chief of security is raped she tells the Naval Investigation Service that she was raped by a black marine wearing glasses and with Cpl. Lindsey Scott (Richard Yearwood) being the only one who matched the description he finds himself under arrest. Fearing that his lawyer Ervan Kuhnke (Peter MacNeill) is not doing his job he contacts civil rights campaigner Lori Jackson (Lynn Whitfield - Deep in My Heart) for her help and despite family demands agrees to help fight his corner. When he is found guilty of rape she won't let it lie and seeks out new lawyers for him even in the face of growing racial abuse and family pressure.
So as mentioned "Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story" is really the combination of two stories; the case against Cpl. Lindsey Scott and then also a look at who Lori Jackson was. Now most of the movie is dominated by the rape storyline and the injustice as Scott is tried for the crime despite a lack of evidence and an ineffectual representation during the first trial. It reminded me a little of "The General's Daughter" but with less mystery and more about Lori and the lawyers seeking out the truth to prove his innocence, going up against the Navy hierarchy to do so. It's not the greatest movie but it is effective as you do wonder how they will clear his name in the face of so much stubbornness from the system.
Then there is the Lori Jackson side of the movie and for a while it does seem to take a back seat as whilst we see she gets married the focus is on the rape case. But during the second half the movie starts to switch focus on to Lori herself and how her belief in helping Cpl. Scott lead to issues; family issues as her life became dominated by helping him to the racial abuse she faced as she brought the injustice to the attention of the media. There is more to this story but I will leave it at that because if like me you have never heard of Lori Jackson what happens will be a surprise.
Now all of this makes for an effective drama which has the drama of the case and the interest of the person working well together. But it does have issues and I suppose these are issues you expect from a TV movie. These include it often coming across as overly melodramatic, some characters such as the first lawyer Ervan Kuhnke border on being a caricature and director Sturla Gunnarsson often over doing the soft focus and warm lighting. It is a shame because aside from that "Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story" is good with Lynn Whitfield delivering a stand out performance as Lori.
What this all boils down to is that "Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story" is a good movie which gets your attention right from the word go and keeps it right until the end. In a way it is a shame it is a made for TV movie because certain things which are typical of TV productions holds it back from being better than just effective.
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