Innocent Victim

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Innocent Victim is a psychological thriller based on the Ruth Rendell novel Tree of Hands. London based, best-selling author, Benet (Helen Shaver), who has just written a controversial novel, lives alone with her young son. Benet's mother, Marsha (Lauren Becall), visiting from the United States, is a manic-depressive who has psychotic episodes. When Benet's young son dies, Marsha kidnaps a local child to serve as a substitute. Benet believes she should return the child but upon investigation she finds out that the child has been severely abused by his parents. After the child's disappearance, the parents are charged with the murder. A more skillful filmmaker might have dealt, as the novel does, with the moral issues of guilt and responsibility and the terrible moral dilemma faced by Benet. Instead, director Giles Foster presents the film in a rather straightforward, nonjudgmental fashion which allows for little character growth and diminishes the impact of what should be an ironic and disturbing ending. Innocent Victim, while at times compelling, and based on an interesting premise, would have been a memorable film if Foster had taken more chances and pushed his actors to give the performances that they are capable of but here are only hinted at. ~ Linda Rasmussen, Rovi


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