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DOUBLE JEOPARDY

DOUBLE JEOPARDY ($30) is one of those thrillers that are designed to push all the right buttons and deliver exactly what audiences expect to see. DOUBLE JEOPARDY is also one of those movies that require that intelligent audience members check their brain at the door, so they can get beyond the filmís gaping holes in logic. Finally, DOUBLE JEOPARDY owes huge debt of gratitude to THE FUGITIVE for "borrowing" half of its plot, as well as one of the filmís stars.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY Ashley Judd stars as Libby Parsons, a happily married woman who is spending a weekend with her husband Nick (Bruce Greenwood) on a sailboat that they are thinking of purchasing. After an evening of lovemaking, Libby awakens to discover herself covered in blood and that her husband is missing. Of course, Libby is innocent of any wrongdoing, but everyone assumes that she killed her husband for his two million-dollar life insurance policy. Libby is tried and convicted, however before she goes to prison, she assigns custody of her young son Matty to her best friend Angela Green (Annabeth Gish).

After a few months of regular visits to the prison, Angela, Matty and the boyís two million-dollar trust fund vanish. With a bit of subterfuge, Libby is able to locate Angelaís whereabouts and calls her on the telephone. While the call allows Libby to talk to her son, it also leads her to believe that her supposedly dead husband Nick is alive and well, and living with Angela. Unfortunately, Libby canít seem to get anyone to believe that Nick is alive- not even the insurance company that paid off the two million dollar policy. Talk about defying logic, when hasnít an insurance company tried to get their money back. Of course, since no one will even consider the possibility that Nick is still alive, Libby spends six years in prison, at which time she is given a conditional parole and sent to live in a halfway house. At the halfway house, Libby meets her no nonsense parole officer Travis Lehman (Tommy Lee Jones). Reasonably free, Libby does whatís required to stay that way until she can figure where Angela, Nick and her son Matty are hiding. As quick as you can say, didnít I see this in THE FUGITIVE, Libby is on the run with her parole officer in hot pursuit.

Since I havenít mentioned it, the filmís title- DOUBLE JEOPARDY is the gimmick the filmmakers used to draw audiences in to see this new twist on THE FUGITIVE. The laws concerning double jeopardy say that a person canít be tried for the same crime twice, so the film played up the revenge angle in the trailer and TV spots, making potential audience members believe that Libby can kill Nick and get away with it, since she has already been tried and convicted for that crime. Of course, the filmís gimmick about double jeopardy doesnít carry any real legal weight, but thatís Hollywood for you. The cast of DOUBLE JEOPARDY also includes Roma Maffia, Jay Brazeau, Michael Gaston, Daniel Lapaine, Dave Hager, Davenia McFadden, Betsy Brantley and Benjamin Weir.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made DOUBLE JEOPARDY available on DVD in a marvelous looking wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for playback on 16:9 displays. DOUBLE JEOPARDY is properly famed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is stunning. The image is incredibly sharp and highly detailed; everything that you would expect from an expensive studio film that has just come off theatrical release. Colors are richly saturated, yet the flesh tones appear very natural. Both hot and cold hues are perfectly rendered, without any evidence of chroma noise or bleeding beyond their boundaries. Blacks are pure black, plus the image provides excellent shadow detail and consistently smooth contrast. Solid authoring and the use of dual layer technology precluded any visible traces of digital compression artifacts.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has an effective mix that doesnít overwhelm the material, but the mix does become aggressive whenever it is required. The spacious forward soundstage provides good channel separation for many of the filmís low-key directional effects. There is a good deal of ambient sound coming from the rears, plus split surround effects also pop up from time to time. Dialogue is always intelligible and the actorsí voices reproduce with a natural timbre. The bass channel provides a solid bottom end, but the material doesnít really call for the track to reproduce the lowest frequencies. English and French Dolby Surround soundtracks have also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English subtitles.

The interactive menus are basic, providing access to the standard scene selection and set up features. A theatrical trailer and short production featurette are included on the DVD as supplement. These few supplemental features are accessible through the menu system.

 
DOUBLE JEOPARDY 



ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 

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DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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