Double Jeopardy

The first time you saw this movie, it was called The Fugitive. The second time you saw it, it was U.S. Marshals. Now, a woman is falsely accused of a crime, and the whole thing starts over again. The title refers to the legal concept that says you cannot be tried for the same crime twice. In this case, Libby Parsons (Ashley Judd, Simon Birch, Kiss the Girls) is convicted for the murder of her husband Nick (Bruce Greenwood, Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter), who, it turns out, may not really be dead. . Of course, we know she is innocent, and that Nick is alive. Otherwise, there wouldn't have been a movie.

Libby and Nick seem to live an idyllic life in Washington with their young son Matty. When Libby and Nick get away for the weekend on a yacht, something goes terribly wrong. Libby wakes up, there is blood everywhere, and Nick is gone. She goes above deck and sees a bloody knife. With Double Jeopardy being the unpredictable movie it is, she picks up the knife, just in time for the Coast Guard to spot her. After her conviction, she begs her best friend Angie (Annabel Gish, SLC Punk!, Beautiful Girls) to adopt her son. While in prison, Matty and Angie seemingly disappear. Using her wits (hey, she's smart and sexy!) Libby tracks them to San Francisco. While on the phone, Matty cries 'daddy!' Wait a minute, isn't Nick dead? Any further attempts to contact Angie and Matty prove fruitless. Here, she learns that she can kill her husband, and no one can do anything since she's already been convicted of doing it. Several years later, Libby is paroled to a halfway house led by Travis Lehman (Tommy Lee Jones, The Fugitive, U.S. Marshals). Libby's only thoughts are of finding her son, and exacting revenge on Nick. She escapes the house and begins a countrywide search for them, with Lehman following closely behind.

There are some twists and turns in Robert Benton's script, but the turns merely seem to prolong the story. No real surprises or breakthroughs are in this movie. There are points where you feel like screaming at Libby for her decisions, which seem kind of dumb in light of some of her other options (okay, maybe she's not that smart). But she can't take the logical route. She has to take the thrilling movie route. You know what's going to happen. Eventually, it will happen, it's just a matter of waiting. Direction by Bruce Beresford is adequate. The suspense level is moderate. Everything is just so-so. We've seen the story so many times that it has become familiar to us. Jones was a good actor once, but lately seems to be sticking with roles about driven, loud talking men after something/someone. However, Ashley Judd is good, as usual. It's odd that she didn't get top billing in the movie. Jones is only in part of the movie, and the movie is about Libby Parsons. Judd takes what she's given and makes the Libby character believable. Libby's love for Matty is the only thing that kept her going in prison. Her maternal love shines through everything else. But that's not enough to save the movie. Double Jeopardy is the kind of movie that is entertaining to watch, but the minute you step out of the theater, it's out of mind, out of sight.

Haro Rates It: Okay
1 hour, 46 minutes, Rated R for language, a little sexuality, and some violence.

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