With a headline cast including Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and Monica Belluci, Under Suspicion helmed by director Stephen Hopkins was released in 2000 and is a remake of the original French film “Garde a Vue”. A wonderfully written and performed psychological thriller it’s a tremendously intense movie and perhaps one of Hackman’s greatest performances.
Gene Hackman stars as Henry Hearst, an attorney working in Puerto Rico, a man who seems to have life sewn up. He is wealthy and successful and has a much younger trophy wife in the form of Chantal (Monica Bellucci). On the face of it, basically he has it all. However no one is perfect and Hearst is summoned to the police department by Victor Benezet (Morgan Freeman) where he finds that he is now a suspect in a case involving the discovery of a young girl’s body and the truth about Hearst starts to emerge under cross questioning by a young and ambitious cop, Owens. During this, revealed in flashbacks and narration it becomes apparent that beneath the veneer of respectability, Hearst is a pervert with a fetish for young girls and has hidden this side to his nature for years, indulging in a secretive existence surrounded by prostitution and porn. As the story progresses, Victor’s long held jealousy of Hearst comes to the fore and therefore it seems that he has a vested interest in bringing Hearst down. Suddenly everyone’s motivations are not as black and white as they seemed at the movie’s outset and before long it seems that even the characters are unsure as to their own motivations.
Both Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman are of course magnificent, as would be expected from their track records. Monica Belluci also makes an impression in one of her breakthrough roles, giving a very understated performance. Hopkins directs with great skill and style and with a flair for interpreting the material. The tension never lets up and the movie leaves several unanswered questions in the mind of the viewer.
A stylish and inventive thriller set against the beautiful San Juan background and with a stellar cast, this is one that is really not to be missed.
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Writers: John Wainwright (book), Claude Miller (1981 screenplay Garde à vue)
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, Monica Bellucci, Thomas Jane
Release Date: 12 January 2001 (UK)