Plot: What’s it about?
Libby seems to have it all, the perfect family, the perfect house, good community and neighbors…everything. We learn very quickly that her good fortune isn’t to last. Aboard a boat that the couple is staying on for the night, Libby awakes to find her robe and hands covered with blood. Through a dense fog, up comes the Coast Guard all within minutes of her discovering what in the world could have happened. As mentioned, she is tried, convicted and sentenced to prison, and she serves her time. By sheer accident, she discovers that her husband is indeed alive and living in San Fransisco with her best fried as his “wife”. Of course, there’s nothing she can do, all locked up, but she sets her sights on getting to the bottom of this mystery and a little payback as well. Getting some inside information from fellow inmate (and lawyer), she finds out about the “Double Jeopardy” standard. Upon her parole, she is released into a halfway house under the close, ever suspicious eye of Travis Lehman (Tommy Lee Jones). While it’s true that he essentially plays the same character as in “The Fugitive” and “U.S. Marshals”, Jones is such an intelligent actor that every role he plays seems to take on a life of its own. By now, we know that the only thing on Libby’s mind is getting revenge and getting to see her son again. No matter what the cost. And it’s about this point in the movie where the “chase begins”. Fleeing from everyone, and finding solace in her mother, she heads off to San Fransisco to get to the bottom of the mystery. Finding out that her friend has come to an unfortunate death, her husband has since relocated to New Orleans where he’s leading another life as a busy socialite. The only thing is that Travis is hot on her tail, and is not entirely convinced that her story about her husband is true. Nick (Bruce Greenwood), obviously shocked at seeing his wife again, can only try and flatter his way out the mess and as you can imagine…that’s when things get messy.
I remember the hoopla surrounding this movie and, looking back, I still found myself a bit intrigued by the film. But, having watched a few thousand other films since then we know that the premise isn’t exactly mind-blowing. Tommy Lee Jones does what he does/did best with his somewhat irritable and cranky demeanor, but he does make it work for him. Yes, he’s essentially playing Samuel Gerard as he did in The Fugitive and a few years later in U.S. Marshals. But he’s good at it, so why not typecast him? What the film might be most remembered for is that it served as a launching pad for Ashley Judd. This catapulted her into Hollywood’s A list, albeit not for too long.
Video: How does it look?
It’s been a while since I sat down and watched this one. Matter of fact, the last time I did was when I got the Standard DVD from Paramount way back in 1999. Times and things have changed when it comes to picture quality and now we’ve got a 4K offering of this film. Paramount’s Presents line has done a bang up job with several of the titles and I was curious to see how this one would fare. As it turns out, not too badly. The 2.35:1 HEVC 4K image does somewhat pale in comparison to modern day movies, but after looking at my old DVD (which took forever to find), I have to say that there’s a noticeable uptick in quality with detail, color and lack of grain. Flesh tones appear warm and natural, the film has a more cinematic look to it and the new transfer has certainly breathed new life into the way this looks. HDR helps with some of the darker scenes as well. It’s not perfect, mind you, but if die hard fans were waiting for an improvement – that wait is over.
Audio: How does it sound?
While this might have seemed primed for a Dolby Atmos release, we don’t get it. We get the same Dolby TrueHD mix that was found on the Blu-ray from years ago. But it’s fine. There are some of the usual caveats with some gunshots, car chases and even a car in the water that give the speakers a much needed workout, but by and large it’s just an above average mix. Vocals are pure and crisp, Jones’ deep voice commands the screen. Surrounds are used often and with great impact, in a few instances it does create an immersive experience that puts you right in the middle of the action. And that’s the point, right?
Supplements: What are the extras?
Disc One (4K)
There are no supplements on the 4K disc.
Disc Two (Blu-ray)
- Filmmaker Focus with Director Bruce Beresford – The good news is that, yes, there is a new supplement that was produced for this disc. Why it’s not on the 4K version I’ll have no idea. But as is consistent with the other titles in the Paramount Presents line, director Bruce Beresford is interviewed as he discusses the work, the film’s long-lasting influence and everything in between. It’s nothing earth shattering, but still a new feature for a film of this age is always welcome.
- Alternate Ending – In the “it’s really not that much of an alternate ending” department, we get this – with an incomplete audio track. Enjoy.
- The Making of Double Jeopardy – This “vintage” feature is all we’ve come to expect from things like this. We get the obligatory talking heads from the cast and crew and the entire thing plays out like a glorified trailer.
The Bottom Line
Movies like this are hit and miss. I’m sure that out there, somewhere, this is someone’s favorite film of all-time. It’s a good, tense thriller that gives away its own ending within the trailer. But Jones and Judd make for a pretty good pair and it was a joy to see it again after so long. Paramount’s done a good job with the disc, giving us improved picture quality and a new supplement. If that perks you up, pick it up.