The Accused

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

It seems odd that Jodie Foster won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the troubled Sarah Tobias. Let me put it another way…it seems odd that this was Jodie Foster’s first Academy Award, as most any casual movie fan would tell you that she won for Taxi Driver (which she should have). At any rate, as is the case with so many Best Actor/Best Actress movie (movies that themselves aren’t nominated for much other than outstanding performances by the actors in them, i.e. Training Day) Foster’s performance was enough to hold the movie together, but what will it ultimately be remembered for? Jane Fonda’s first Oscar was for Klute, but aside from that, what do we really remember about the movie? In any case, we also find then super hot actress Kelly McGillis who was still riding her wake of Witness and Top Gun, but where is she now? While The Accused is not a very easy movie to watch, the performance by Foster alone (as with most of her movies) should merit a viewing. And speaking of which, just what is this film all about?

Anyone who has seen the movie can tell you one thing about it (aside from the Jodie Foster Oscar thing, but we’ve covered that already), the rape scene. This is, obviously, the scene in which the movie revolves around. Foster plays Sarah, a local, “white trash” type who is drunk and high at a local bar inhabited with her male equivalents. Dancing suggestively and leading the men on, one thing turns to another and all of the sudden she’s in the back of the bar, on top of the pinball machine being gang raped by three men. There is a chant that they’re saying as well, but I don’t want to actually write out what they’re saying. It’s better that I not. Naturally, the men are arrested the following day but the whole argument is her past. She was intoxicated and high when this happened, but it doesn’t condone what happened. And this is the basis for the movie. Looking for help, she turns to the Deputy District Attorney, Kathryn Murphy (Kelly McGillis) who wants to help her, but doesn’t feel that sorry for her. Of course, this is her job, so she takes the case.

The rest of the movie could be described as a courtroom battle, which is essentially true. There are actually two cases involved, the first is pretty open and shut when it comes to the men who raped her. The second, though, is a bit more tricky. Not only does Sarah want to go after the men who raped her, she wants to go after the others in the bar who helped cheer it on and did nothing to stop the act. While getting into a gray area, the movie handles it very well. While this spawned a lot of other movies of it’s genre, The Accused might be one worth checking out. Paramount, unfortunately, has not done a great job with their DVD, and though it looks and sounds good, there is nothing more on the disc than a theatrical trailer. An Oscar-winning performance by Jodie Foster, Kelly McGillis’ last good performance (unless I’m mistaken) and a rather interesting movie, make for a pretty good offering. Though it’s not as controversial as it was when it came out almost 15 years ago, it’s still likely to cause some arguments and certainly worth a look.

Video: How does it look?

As it seems with most of Paramount’s 80’s catalog titles, the image is presented in a rather clean-looking 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. There is some dirt to be found and not all of the scenes are perfect, but for the most part the image is a vast improvement over any other version of this movie. Some dimly lit scenes, such as in the bar where Sarah is raped, do have a very dark look to them, but the level of detail in some scenes is very good. A bit of a problem with some edge enhancement in some minor parts, but the flesh tones appear natural and even though the palette used is saturated, the image maintains a consistency for most of the movie. All in all, a good transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

Also, as can be expected, Paramount has given this movie a re-mastered 5.1 soundtrack. Now in some cases, this is all you need to heighten the experience. That’s not the case here. Though there’s not a lot of problem with the dialog, it does tend to sound hollow at times and therefore dating the movie. The music used is typical of an 80’s film (even a late 80’s film like this), with synthesizers used for effects and so on. Parts of this are loud, almost too loud, that detracts from the movie. Still, for the most part, this is a dialog-driven movie and for the money, this is the best it will sound. While not bad, it’s not the best effort either.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Though this film certainly means a lot to Ms. Foster, evidently not a lot of thought was put into supplements. All you’ll find is a theatrical trailer.

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