Guilty as Sin Reviews
However, what makes Guilty as Sin extra special is its specific layer of eeriness. The world of the film is pretty, where everything looks elegant, and even alien (the courtroom in particular denotes this reality); the profession of law is not what it is relative to reality, but, it's purpose is to promote art's identity of conflation. The visual style of Guilty as Sin is exotic, to the degree that despite an already intriguing and sinister plot synopsis, the viewer should experience this 1993 thriller with dread, and anticipation.
As a one time viewer, it amazes me how much I remember the film. De Mornay is her career-defining role with this film, and her co-star Don Johnson is so convincing as the part of the dubious and wicked client that it was hard for me to imagine Johnson playing any other part.
Numerous times, the script of Guilty as Sin shows weird things - even relative to its genre - and it works to the effect of being genuinely confusing. It isn't that the characters behave in strange ways, but more that the overall reality is alien, and the characters within it are like a trapped normality.
Guilty as Sin works. It represents the crime drama, and legal thriller well. I would even say that Guilty as Sin is a superior kind of art to Blade Runner, or to something like Pulp Fiction or Titanic: none of those three films have the instinctive power of Guilty as Sin, and its level of suggestive intellect.
Most importantly, Guilty as Sin is why art and cinema exists. It is bizarre and rationality conflated, yet done so with a style that doesn't offend or irritate or just senselessly confuse the viewer. Like I said, the world of Guilty as Sin is demonic and alien, showing its characters occupying weird-looking environments, but the nature of the story rationalises this strange surface-reality. The events of the story itself are also strange at times, but it works because of the foundation of purpose: Guilty as Sin is a popcorn film, intelligently equipped with intellect.
If I reflect on films like this year's Love and Friendship, or 2004's Crash, or a drama series like Downton Abbey, Guilty as Sin becomes all the more powerful, because of my knowledge that the root purpose of Guilty as Sin is to inspire its audience using reality, but not reflecting reality.
Rebecca De Mornay is the symbol of reality's evolution, in this film.
Larry Cohen will probably never win an Oscar as a screenwriter, but you have to give this guy credit where it's due; he spins an entertaining yarn and that is definitely the case here. The casting is good as well. Rebecca DeMornay and Don Johnson are both impossibly good-looking here, but you believe them in their respective roles. These are fun characters, and it's very enjoyable but sometimes silly watching them play their cat and mouse game. Johnson is especially good in a wonderful, scenery-chweing performance that gives him the rare chance to play the bad guy. He's a lot of fun, and Cohen gives him some juicy lines of dialogue.
It's a rare twist in a courtroom thriller where the defendant's guilt or innocence is black and white right from the start. The ending, however, is a little too abrupt and wraps things up a little too neatly for my tastes, and the resolution seems disappointingly routine to me. The audience that has stuck with this audacious thriller for that long deserves a better conclusion. Clearly, seasoned filmmaker Lumet made "Guilty as Sin" as a lark, and when it works, it does so because of his skill and some fun casting. It's silly, but quite a bit as fun as well.
Courtroom thriller from director Sidney Lumet could have used a bit more accomplished of a cast. There is really nothing new or fresh and it is very predictable.