• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:November 14, 2020

Primal Fear


Chicago attorney Martin Vail (Richard Gere) happily takes on a high-profile case where a confused former altar boy, Aaron (Edward Norton), stands accused of having murdered the Archbishop. It’s not often an actor making his screen debut gets to shine as much as Norton does here – he is excellent as the conflicted young man who may have had his reasons to commit murder, if in fact he did do it. Gere is also very good as his attorney, a smooth operator who lets the case get under his skin. Cold Chicago locations add to a feeling that this is a place without ideals. The brilliant twist in the ending also leaves us in utter darkness.

1996-U.S. 129 min. Color. Produced by Gary Lucchesi. Directed by Gregory Hoblit. Screenplay: Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman. Novel: William Diehl. Cast: Richard Gere (Martin Vail), Laura Linney (Janet Venable), John Mahoney (John Shaughnessy), Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton… Terry O’Quinn, Maura Tierney.

Trivia: Wil Wheaton and Leonardo DiCaprio were allegedly considered for the role of Aaron. Remade in India as Deewangee (2002).

Last word: “We couldn’t find someone to play the kid. We had all these wonderful young actors, who were very talented, and could play the crazy part, but they couldn’t play the innocent. […] At the very last second – I was ready to leave the movie [because] we couldn’t cast – Edward came in. We tested him a couple times and they were both extremely brilliant. It was really Edward that allowed us to make the movie, allowed me to stay in the movie. He could pull that off: that darkness behind a very believable, genuine soft boy.” (Gere, Yahoo Movies)



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