Here's the problem with most "trial movies": Either the guy did it or he didn't do it. There's usually not much else to it unless the director decides to pull a rabbit out of his hat by having the real murderer inexplicably axe a bailiff to death just before the jury convicts an innocent man to fry like the dog they thought he was.
This movie makes a flailing stab at generating audience interest by hearkening back to the O.J. Simpson trial (hey, it worked wonders for "Jury Duty"). Richard Gere plays a defense attorney with a desire for headlines, so when an altar boy is caught running away from a murder scene with the archbishop's blood all over him, Gere jumps at the chance for publicity. The crime seems fairly straightforward, but as with all movies involving archbishops, there's something lewd and disgusting lurking just beneath the surface. In almost every instance where an archbishop is present in a movie he's either fondling innocent farm animals or eating his parishioners.
Instead of complexifying the situation by exploring the relationship between Gere's egoism, the media and the law, first-time feature-film director Gary Hoblit turns the last half of his film into a mediocre episode of "L.A. Law," which is not surprising considering his television background.
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