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The Accused (1988) is a legal thriller, reportedly based on true events, about a young woman's gang-rape, first in a seedy bar's back room, and then in the US legal system.


Jodie Foster plays Sarah Tobias in her first Oscar-winning role (Best Actress in a Leading Role, 1989). Sarah is a trailer-dwelling member of the lower social strata, who unfortunately has a record with the Police. First we see the aftermath of the crime and then, late in the movie, the graphic rape scene is shown to the audience as an eywitness testifies. It is a very powerfull and disturbing scene, difficult to watch.


Kelly McGillis plays Katheryn Murphy, a female assistant DA who is prosecuting Sarah's case. She plays the role very well, I'm not quite sure why her career stalled soon after this film.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Unfortuantely Katheryn is too well-aware of Sarah's record of drug and alchohol intoxication, and the uninhibited dancing she was indulging in just before the rape occurred. She plea-bargains the three rapists down to "Reckless Endangerment", a non-sexual offense, and the three are sentanced to 2-5 years, eligible for parole in 9 months. Sarah is devastated by this verdict and bitterly verbally attacks Katheryn in her home. Katheryn is spurred to open a second case to prosecute the rape spectators, and to ensure the three rapists serve the maximum sentance. (Well and good, but not enough IMHO.)



The disk is a new release (April 16, 2002) and is the R-rated theatrical version, with few extras. This is a 1.85:1 anamorphic presentation with very good but not reference quality video, and slight signs of edge enhancement in a few scenes. The soundtrack is DD5.1 and 2.0 - perhaps someone else can comment on that, as I had to listen via headphones.


Overall, this film comes highly reccomended by me - but I find the subject matter disturbing, so I'm not adding it to my collection, and I reccomend you rent before buying if you haven't seen the film before. The topic of rape has seen more attention in recent years, but I can appreciate how much new ground was broken by this film in 1988.


Reccomended as a rental.


Gary
 
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