Double Jeopardy

Double Jeopardy
Cast: Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Annabeth Gish, Bruce Greenwood, Roma Maffia, Benjamin Weir

Rating: R due to language, some violence and a scene of sexuality

Runtime: 105 minutes

Libby Parsons (Judd) has the ideal life. Her husband, Nick (Greenwood), is a successful art dealer, she has a wonderful young son Matty (Weir) and a great friend Angie (Gish). But her life is about to take a tragic turn. While sailing aboard their newly purchased boat (a gift from her husband), Nick goes missing. When the Coast Guard arrives, Libby is found soaked in blood and holding a knife. Even more damaging is a S.O.S. recording from Nick indicating Libby had attacked him. Libby is ultimately arrested and sentenced to prison for the death of her husband.

Libby becomes the model prisoner while incarcerated. But when visits from Angie (who now has custody of her son) and Matty become few and far between, Libby tracks down her friend. Imagine her surprise when Matty is talking to her on the phone and suddenly yells out for his “daddy” who happens to arrive home at that moment. Further calls prove to be useless and a bewildered Libby is beside herself until she gets some advice from fellow inmate Margaret (Maffia): that since she has already been tried and convicted of killing Nick, she should focus on completing her time in prison and when released, there is nothing stopping her from walking up to Nick anytime, anyplace, anywhere and going through with the deed (hence the “Double Jeopardy” title).

This is what motivates Libby through the next several years in prison. After being paroled, she finds herself at a halfway house which is overseen by the gritty Travis Lehman (Jones), who’s no nonsense about following the rules. This doesn’t stop Libby who is more determined than ever to track down her son. The journey takes her over several states, (including a stop where she learns about the suspicious fate of Angie) and eventually leads her to New Orleans. All the time, however, she is being pursued relentlessly by Travis. Will the truth eventually come out?

I thought “Double Jeopardy” was a good premise for a movie. (Although I’m sure there are plenty of loopholes in the idea!) Judd and Jones seem to play really well off each other during a number of intense scenes. You’re also at the edge of your seat when Libby finally confronts Nick in New Orleans.

While the movie relies more on the dramatic story, there are still a few memorable action sequences. The first is a scene where Libby has initially been caught violating her parole. Travis has her in custody and the pair has to catch a ferry back to the mainland. Seeing a chance to escape, Libby (who is handcuffed to a mirror on Travis’ car) maneuvers the vehicle. When the car falls into the water, Libby fights Travis in the submerged vehicle for her freedom. Another scene which stood out in my mind after seeing the movie for the first time is when Libby is calling after a young boy who she believes to be Matty through the cemetery in New Orleans. Suddenly she’s attacked by Nick who, thinking he’s gotten rid of his “problem”, disposes of her in a nearby crypt. She doesn’t experience the best “wake up” call when she comes to.

There were a few things that bothered me about this one. The ending was a little too neatly done and was a little predictable. I also kept wondering if there were any repercussions against Libby for some of the things that happened from the time she first escaped Travis until the climactic ending. The movie doesn’t really say anything.

All in all it’s not a bad film to watch when you’re looking for a decent dramatic/action thriller.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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