Guilty As Sin

I’ve never been a Don Johnson fan, but thanks to inspired casting, an effectively gripping and oppressive screenplay by Larry Cohen, and able direction by Sidney Lumet, he dominates this courtroom thriller as one of the most effective feline villains to be seen since Robert Walker in Strangers on a Trainhe’s a glib ladies’ man who induces a successful criminal lawyer (Rebecca De Mornay) to defend him against charges of murdering his wealthy wife. There are plenty of old-fashioned virtues to be found herenot only graceful storytelling, nerve-racking suspense, and a fine secondary role by Jack Warden, but also a feeling of assurance that these filmmakers are going to play by the rules and not sacrifice sense or plausibility for the sake of cheap thrills. With Stephen Lang and Dana Ivey. (JR)

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