Movie: The Trial (2010)

Trial2010I usually like courtroom dramas.  I am a retired legal secretary, and stories about attorneys are of interest to me.  So I expected to like this one.  And up to a point, I did.

My first sour note was that in this Georgia courtroom, the Ten Commandments are on display, right behind the witness’ chair, in fact.  Second, one of the characters, a psychiatrist, offers God as a cure for grief and depression.  But then, so do the 12-step programs, and I try to be tolerant.

In the end, any story like this relies on whether or not you can believe the trial really happened the way the author says it did.  That’s hard unless the author is a lawyer, and I don’t frankly know if the author of this story is or is not.  If so, he certainly didn’t seem to mind that Georgia is not like other states.  Not only the 10 commandment display, but the death penalty, were issues I expected to be addressed in the interests of justice.  They were not.

In the end, the story is pretty thin, relying way too much on the work of an investigator who is not the focus of the story, and on what might be considered coincidence without too much struggle.  For example, two different drugs with very similar effects were administered to two different victims by the same criminal at the same time, but it was never made clear why the same drug was not used on both.  I couldn’t help thinking it was just a convenience for the writer, so he could have the “tested negative for” and later “tested positive for” plot line to take up time.

But I’m forgetting why the movie was actually made, aren’t I?  It was not in order to tell a tight courtroom drama about the nature of justice, including justice in Georgia.  It was to give God the credit for the work done by the attorney and the investigator.  It’s far less satisfying; rather like the deus ex machina of the classical Greek dramas.

Statements in this review do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.