Thompson's Arresting Performance
It's Christine Paley's (Lea Thompson) first night on the job as a booking in clerk at the police station and it is one heck of a night to start her career. Lt. Mike Brosloe (Robert Loggia) takes her under his wing as he tries to give her the benefit of his wealth of knowledge as they deal with a series of arrests from an African-American documentary maker who masqueraded as a member of the Klan but only ended up in a riot to drink drivers, cross dressers, a man who helped his wife commit suicide as well as a jealous husband obsessed with a talk show host.
Does that sound a bit curious? Well it certainly is and if you hadn't already gathered from that synopsis we are dealing with a movie which is basically a montage of events, a collection of different arrests. What we are also dealing with is a movie which is adapted from a stage play which means that this is a movie which is less about what happens and what is said by the various characters. Now I will admit that I struggle with these sorts of movies as characters waffling on with no actual character development is often tedious and at times "The Right to Remain Silent" is tedious but at the same time intelligently put together and nicely acted.
So as I said we are talking about a movie which is a montage of arrests and I won't go into each of them but focus on one in particular involving a man arrested for causing a crash having been found to be drink driving. We watch as he tries to explain things, charmingly saying how he just took his eyes off the road for a split second and he was only just over the limit whilst the arresting officer wouldn't let him sing his alphabet when asked to recite it. To say it is fun would be wrong but it is light until we get the sledge hammer and the look on the man's face as he is given a rude awakening when he is told what happened. It ends with him having his mug shot taken and lead to a cell with a sobering scene. This mug shot aspect is used in each of the arrests and it works well, in fact of the arrests in general works well as each has a different angle.
Having said that some of these arrest segments work better than others with Patrick Dempsey and LL Cool J really grabbing your attention whilst Amanda Plummer's rambling as a pistol packing pizza delivery girl is not so effective. Those are just three of many well known names in "The Right to Remain Silent" and the star power certainly helps to make this watchable, providing nice variation between each of the characters being arrested. Plus there is Lea Thompson and Robert Loggia who ground the movie as they are the constants between each of these arrest episodes.
What this all boils down to is that "The Right to Remain Silent" is fascinating with its episodic look at a series of arrests, made entertaining via an array of stars playing interesting characters. But as is often the case when we have a play adapted into a movie it is occasionally on the wordy side and not riveting enough