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The Accused

review by Zach B.



Rating: R

Running Time: 110 minutes

Starring: Kelly McGillis, Jodie Foster

Written by: Tom Topor

Directed by: Johnathan Kaplan


Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $24.95

Features: Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Stereo, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (14 Scenes)

Released: April 16th, 2002



"The Accused" is the story of Sarah Tobias (Jodie Foster in her first Oscar® winning role), a woman who goes into a bar one night and is gang-raped by several men. Enter Katheryn Murphy (Kelly McGillis), who becomes Sarah's lawyer for a case against those who attacked her and those who let it go on. Despite Sarah's inhibitions and Murphy's own feelings, the two are there for the case. So it'll be easy to convict the guys and everything, right? Wrong. Of course, there's an obstacle that stands in this case. Sarah was under the influence of alcohol and drugs that night. Did this and her actions fuel what went on, or is there different sides to it all?

This film is actually based on a true story, and I feel it works as a pretty great, if not a somewhat underrated film drama. It can be somewhat shocking times and quite tense, and I think that's important. This film establishes a tense, strong and thematic tone. It's about overcoming wrongdoing, yet also realizing how things tend to be catalysts for other things. There are a lot of great, tough scenes that I felt quite intrigued into when watching. There is a lesson to this movie, about how when you know something is going on that is wrong, you do something about it. It's also a bit about perceptions through crime.

This film is greatly told by Jonathan Kaplan, where he gives that tone that is a bit creepy, somewhat depressing and hard. He sets it at a good pace too, and really gets us into the story through the characters and what happens. Our emotions and feelings come wrapped up through it, and I think that's exactly what he wants to do. The writing from Tom Topor is really strong. It sets the tone of the film and establishes the themes quite well, as Topor has written some really strong dialogue, has developed complex characters and puts them off in interesting odds. The writing and directing here are pretty top notch.

The performances here are quite powerful as well. Jodie Foster, of course, won the Oscar® and Golden Globe for her role as Sarah. It's truly one of her best and most intense performances. She's a sad figure with quite a few issues to deal with, and the events in the bar just shatter her even more. Foster perfectly plays Sarah as a vulnerable figure who is really damaged inside. It's heartbreaking and for the course of the film, it works great. She carries it and it's an amazing role. However, I felt that Kelly McGillis, now semi-retired from acting, went a bit unnoticed as Kathryn. She's a bit more strong, but she also has things to overcome. McGillis is though in this film and plays well against Foster. In all, the film does have two great leads.

While the film is mainly noticed for its acting, it's still a really strong movie that I feel is underrated in that sense. Sure, there have been crime movies before that deal with things like this, but it feels real and rather raw. Like I said, the characters are pretty complex but it does have something important to say about what you do, right and wrong and how every little thing can come into play as something big.


"The Accused" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it looks pretty good. It's a bit grainy, but for a movie that's almost fourteen years old, it looks quite good. There are some pieces of dirt, some noise, blemishes and a few scratches on the print, but overall, it's pretty good. Fleshtones are really good and look good, with fine hues and detail throughout the transfer. Colors are strong and stable, as they are pretty bold and stand out. They are rather vibrant, actually and look good. Overall, not bad at all.


The 5.1 Dolby Digital remix in English is pretty good and helps you get into the film's somewhat chilling atmosphere. The opening of the film sounds particulary strong, creating subtle use of sounds throughout. The musical score from Brad Fiedel is pretty nice and is well mixed, while other noises (such as the law office and hockey game) bring good surround use. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear throughout, no hiss or distortion. It's cleaned up pretty nicely. Overall, a fairly good remix. Also included is a French stereo track, English Dolby Surround track, English subtitles and English closed captions.


The Theatrical Trailer in two channel sound and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen.


A pretty strong drama, "The Accused" features incredibly strong performances and a tense atmosphere. The film's presentation on DVD is pretty good, but I wish there was more as far as extras... a commentary, featurettes... something. Still, if you're a fan of the movie, it's really worth picking up. If you've never seen it, be sure to check it out.