Suspect is a tightly woven courtroom drama that has been much overlooked. If you were to compare it to more modern films, it would fall in line with a John Grisham style of mystery. Cher stars as a dedicated Washington D.C. public defender assigned to represent a deaf homeless man played by Liam Neeson who is charged with murdering a Judges secretary. When Cher cannot get her client to cooperate she begins to assume he is guilty until she receives some help from one of the members of the jury, a congressional aid played by Dennis Quaid. The more Cher starts to investigate with help from Quaid they discover not only is Neeson innocent but there is something more sinister happening.
Cher steals the show in this role. It is hard to imagine how good of an actress she became with roles like this and Moonstruck. Suspect is by far Cher’s movie, and she hits every note perfectly. She is dynamic and believable as the idealistic lawyer who wants nothing more than to help her client and see justice done. Here she works well with Quaid who plays a cocky smarmy aid who just wants to get out of jury duty and back to work but starts seeing things that begin to make him question Neeson’s innocence and feels he can’t just sit by and let an innocent man go to jail. The tension is great, especially the scenes in which Cher and Quaid must secretly work together to avoid being caught and having not only a mistrial declared but her being disbarred. Neeson though not having a speaking role playing a deaf mute is able to still give a solid performance. He plays a man who has given up on life and must communicate to Cher through facial expressions. The relationship that develops between them is well done, slowly but surely Cher convinces Neeson to fight for his innocence and help her prove the injustice that has been done. Also of note, along with the main trio of actors already mentioned, John Mahoney and Joe Mantegna have strong supporting roles.
If you haven’t had a chance to see Suspect, I highly recommend it. It is more than just a courtroom drama; it keeps you on the edge of your seat all the while watching the layers unfold before you. If you like courtroom movies or movies in the John Grisham genre, than pick up Suspect and give it a shot. Who would have believed Cher can act. Until next week, stay classy everyone.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 69%
IMDB Rating: 6.5 out of 10