Double Jeopardy/B-,A

Paramount/1999/105/ANA 2.35

    Double Jeopardy travels a popcorn paved road of treachery and intrigue from the coast of Washington to the overwrought  balconies of New Orleans. Plothole repairs are filled with even more popcorn. So, how many bags of popcorn can you fit on a Double Jeopardy DVD? The answer to the question is the key to enjoying this energetic, but flawed suspense flick.

Lehman checks out the goods on Libby. ©Paramount

     Libby Parsons is a wonderful wife and mother living a fantasy life along the shore in Washington. What she doesn't realize is that her husband's financial empire is held up by corrupt foundations. The totally amoral husband Nick (Didn't you have an inkling, Libby?) sets up an insurance scam that leaves Libby holding the murder weapon. (Libby's a heavy sleeper.) It's a cliché trial, candy-ass jail time, parole, and an attempt to put her life back together and find her son. Nasty parole officer Travis Lehman has the job of keeping tabs on Libby, and he is pretty inept, even for a "hard case." Libby bolts, which means the movie gets to move to some spiffy locations, and that's okay with me. New Orleans, through the lens of cinematographer Peter James is gorgeous.     
    Director Bruce Beresford does a good job of making a bad script look delicious. The pacing and style of Double Jeopardy are far better than its written origins. Characters painted in one color are always problematic, and such is the case with Double Jeopardy. An even bigger problem is the turn-around made by Lehman. Making in a longer version of this film sensible director Beresford gave Lehman better motivations.

   If you like Ashley Judd (Who doesn't?), just watching her offers its own treasure trove of pleasure. Judd light ups the screen with remarkable consistency,  With only a short filmography to her credit, she has established a firm screen presence. More Judd por favor! This time out, Judd gets to flex her muscles  playing Libby, an action heroine, giving more credence to all those questionable plot turns than most working actresses could manage. .Tommy Lee Jones tries hard to bring some charm to the rather ugly part of Travis Lehman. Bruce Greenwood will do anything as Nick to keep living the high life.
      Detail is outstanding on this widescreen DVD. Look at some of the party scenes. The many crystals making up the chandeliers are delineated finely. Keeping with its popcorn heritage, Double Jeopardy is transferred to DVD with lively, saturated colors. The Dolby Digital 5:1 surround is active and directional, with outstanding pans. There's a promotional short included that little more than some added gloss on this good looking DVD.


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