Reasonable Doubt (2014)

Reasonable Doubt (2014)
  • Time: 91 min
  • Genre: Crime | Thriller
  • Director: Peter Howitt
  • Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Dominic Cooper, Erin Karpluk, Gloria Reuben


When up-and-coming District Attorney Mitch Brockden commits a fatal hit-and-run, he feels compelled to throw the case against the accused criminal who was found with the body and blamed for the crime. Following the trial, Mitch’s worst fears come true when he realizes that he acquitted a guilty man, and he soon finds himself on the hunt for the killer before more victims pile up.


  • “Reasonable Doubt” got a lot of negative reviews, but I don’t understand why exactly… I thoroughly enjoyed the film from start to finish. Samuel L. Jackson was solid as usual, and also Dominic Cooper puts in a decent performance. Jackson excels in this type of role, his best roles are when he plays the bad guy. So the acting was good and the plot was kind of neat. There was enough suspence to make this movie enjoyable till the end. Ok, the story was maybe a little bit unbelievable, but you have to watch it with an open mind. Just sit back and enjoy this movie. It’s definitely not a masterpiece, but still I do recommend it, especially when you’re a fan of the bad guy in Samuel L. Jackson!

  • A prominent attorney with a wife and a newborn baby, commits a hit- and- run thereby turning his whole life upside down. That’s the premise for Reasonable Doubt, a sometimes ludicrous, glossy crime thriller that has its protagonist swallowed up by the setting of a blistery, Chicago winter. With “Doubt”, you have a film with a running time of ninety- one minutes that only harbors about 75% of them in terms of actual screen happenings (you know thing’s have gone amok when the closing credits feel like their own mini movie all together). And what seems so promising early on (“Doubt’s” first half has a brisk, no-nonsense pace to it), becomes a disappointing hack job from little known director, Peter Howitt.

    Shot in Winnipeg, Canada and Chicago, Illinois (the setting is Chicago with Winnipeg actually masquerading as The Windy City) and containing a working title of The Good Samaritan, Reasonable Doubt looks through the eyes of prosecutor Mitch Brockden (played by Need For Speed’s Dominic Cooper). He’s a family man, a guy who quote unquote, “never loses a case”, and someone who is about to be promoted to district attorney provided that the powers that be never uncover certain things about him (like the fact that he has a stepbrother who is a hardened criminal and newly paroled). When Mitch, after a night of drinking, runs into a streaking pedestrian in the middle of the night, he then covers his tracks by getting his car washed, getting rid of his clothes, and making an anonymous phone call reporting the accident. Oh and it gets better. He may have left the scene but someone else might have tortured said pedestrian just a few minutes earlier. That’s where sicko, auto mechanic Clinton Davis (Samuel L. Jackson) comes into play. He’s the one that actually gets charged with the hit-and-run, not the incident of felonious assault. And Brockden, to make it look like he was never even involved, ends up coincidentally prosecuting the whole darn case.

    From there, I can’t tell you much more. It’d be spoiler overkill. I will only say this though: Reasonable Doubt is neither revolutionary nor is it awful. There are a few generic twists/turns early on and on some level, there is adequate suspense. Cut to the last half hour however where the film unfortunately shows its drab, true colors. Clich├ęs come out of the woodwork such as the villain that kills people representing a criminal demographic responsible for taking his own family away from him, the hero who is put into prison by the heavy who frames him and goes on to commit more crimes, and the wife who’s just had a baby and wants to keep her hubby totally in check, et cetera, et cetera. Added to all this, the film also ends so abruptly that it feels rushed. I mean, isn’t it cheaper to shoot movies in Canada? Can’t another fifteen minutes be tacked on to find a resolve? Is the budget for this little seen release that tight? Who knows. I do know this: It appears that when things conclude, the Dominic Cooper character doesn’t seem destined to spend any time in jail. Really? He may be the good guy but lets face it, he still killed a man while driving drunk and then he predominately left the scene. I don’t care what state you are in or what kind of clout you might have, make no bones about it, you’re going to do some serious time. So in truth, it seems recklessly implausible that Cooper’s Brockden would even appear to get off scot-free. Oh and another thing, there’s a sequence where the mildly innocent Brockden escapes from a county jail by laughably beating up an armed policeman in an interrogation room (with no other set of law enforcement officers even present in the building). Are you serious!? Please.

    In the end, Reasonable Doubt has direct-to-video completely stamped on its dented forehead. And while it unfurls at breakneck speed (with minimal plot holes), it still manages to copy off of better crime dramas like 1992’s Unlawful Entry, 1996’s Primal Fear, 1998’s A Simple Plan and in some respects, 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer. Tack on the Sam Jackson performance which reeks of direct-to-video interludes as well. Along with his screen time in 2012’s Meeting Evil, you get saddled with yet another lifeless, I’ll-do-it-for-a-paycheck-and- not-read-the-script turn this time around. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. Bottom line: As a rental, Reasonable Doubt will get the job done provided you’ve got some dead end time to kill. Otherwise, there’s no real “reason” to see it.

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  • “It looks like you just fucked up our reasonable doubt here, Mitch”

    Mitch Brockden ( Dominic Cooper ) has a perfect life. He is a rising star in court. A phlegmatic lawyer who can plea strongly and emphatically and who never loses a case, as he convincingly told his colleague. He has a beautiful wife and an adorable newborn daughter. The future looks rosy. The winning of another case in court is an excellent reason to go and celebrate this with colleagues. After a night of tequila hoisting, he doesn’t carry out his initial plan to take a cab and drives home carefree with his own car. Along the way he fears being arrested by a police patrol and in a panic turns into a side street where he suddenly slams into someone. Under normal circumstances, you would call 911 and assist the man until they arrive. However, Mitch decides to just call 911 and leave the victim behind in a terrible condition. Abnormal in reality. For the further progress in this movie it’s applicable. What’s going to happen when someone is doing the very thing, that he shouldn’t do ? The next day Mitch finds out that a certain Clinton Davis (Samuel L. Jackson) has been arrested as a suspect .

    And this is the beginning of a typical, bland thriller. A trifle, nobody would have cared about if it wasn’t for Samuel L. Jackson to play in it. The subject has been repeatedly used and this is a story without any real inspiration and with completely ridiculous improbabilities. Perhaps Mitch is a top lawyer, but him growing into a true detective who discovers in a rather simple way evidence, that apparently is hard to find for seasoned detectives, beats everything. I must admit that the twists in the story aren’t evident and they tend to put you on the wrong foot.

    You would assume that Mitch would be wriggling in every way so they wouldn’t catch him. It was also a mystery to me why he still bogged in this matter, as he could get away unscathed from it. The moments he is confronted with questions and situations, making him realize that he’s the one who committed the crime, is nicely developed. Yet the improbabilities keep piling up. I had no idea that escaping from a police station was so dead simple. And there’s nobody who comes up with the bright idea to track the call. I assumed that all telephone traffic is tapped in such a station.

    Jackson apparently feels comfortable playing a crazy psychopathic maniac. “Meeting Evil” and “Oldboy” are the last movies I’ve seen in which he performed. In both movies, he also plays a ruthless deranged person who doesn’t mind to provide some additional victims. Still I sometimes had the feeling that he didn’t perform in here devotedly. He used his famous “Samuel L. Jackson” attitude again, but was woeful in the final minutes with the lamentation full of self-pity. The ending wasn’t surprising and a real disappointment.
    The name Dominic Cooper basically meant nothing to me and I didn’t recognize him at the first moment. He turns out to have played a significant role in “Abraham Lincoln : Vampire hunter”. Not a memorable movie for me, so apparently I’ve erased it from my memory. His performance was generally satisfactory, except some really strange facial expressions sometimes. But both couldn’t save the vacuous and rudderless story, regardless of the effort they made.

    The most positive thing about this movie is the duration. It’s a short 80-minutes movie, so you don’t have enough time to get annoyed. You want to see a typical non-intellectual semi-soft without any suspense thriller, then you should definitely give it a chance. But I’m pretty sure there are better movies to choose from and get value for what you spend.

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