Criminal Law (film)
|Directed by||Martin Campbell|
|Produced by||Hilary Heath
|Written by||Mark Kasdan|
Joe Don Baker
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Distributed by||Hemdale Film Corporation|
Attorney Ben Chase successfully defends Martin Thiel, a wealthy, young playboy, getting him acquitted of a series of brutal murders — only to find out later that Thiel is indeed a serial killer. Since Thiel cannot be tried again for his crimes, Chase tries to get him to incriminate himself before he can kill again.
- Gary Oldman as Ben Chase
- Kevin Bacon as Martin Thiel
- Tess Harper as Detective Stillwell
- Karen Young as Ellen Faulkner
- Joe Don Baker as Detective Mesel
- Sean McCann as Jacob Fischer
- Ron Lea as Gary Hull
- Michael Sinelnikoff as Professor Clemtes
- Elizabeth Shepherd as Dr. Thiel
Criminal Law received a decidedly unfavorable reaction from critics, with a 33% "rotten" rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert called the film "a textbook example of a movie going wrong before our very eyes."
Oldman's performance is generally regarded as one of the worst of his career. The film marks his first use of an American accent, which was derided by many critics for rendering his dialogue "forced and stilted". Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave a scathing appraisal of the performance, writing: "Oldman is a powerhouse...But what's a British actor doing playing a Harvard attorney in a Boston-based movie shot in Montreal? Flailing about like a drowning man, that's what. Oldman's [accent is] laughably in-and-out". He added that "Bacon delivers the film's one modulated performance", while "Oldman rants hysterically".
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