Sunday, July 20, 2014

Witness (1985)

Surprisingly effective thriller, directed by Peter Weir, about a cop (Harrison Ford) who must hide out on an Amish farm after uncovering a potentially scandalous instance of police corruption during a murder investigation in Philadelphia. Weir makes the most of the premise, and Ford turns in a fine performance as the stoical police officer who comes to appreciate the simple ways of life of the Amish community with whom he stays. Lukas Haas gives a remarkable performance as the young boy who witnesses the murder that sets the plot in motion, and the relationship that develops between him and Ford is quite touching. Weir also makes excellent use of the Pennsylvania filming locations, capturing the atmosphere of Dutch Amish country with a real sense of authenticity and regional flavor. The plot is very well-paced, expertly maintaining suspense and building up to the final confrontation between Ford and the dirty cops in a tense shoot-out on the farm. One of those films where everything works, and all of the elements come together effectively. The kind of solidly entertaining movie Hollywood just isn't capable of making anymore.

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