Double Jeopardy (1999) – A Review
While out on a romantic boat trip, devoted wife and loving mother Libby (Ashley Judd) wakes up to find her husband Nick (Bruce Greenwood) is missing and looking like he was murdered. Well, she’s the prime suspect and is soon tried and convicted of killing him. And what a kicker, while serving time Libby discovers Nick isn’t really dead!
Once out on parole and avoiding the watchful eye of her parole officer Travis (Tommy Lee Jones), Libby begins to track Nick down and is looking to exercise a legal loophole that Nick hadn’t thought about – ‘double jeopardy’.
You see, Libby was already convicted of murdering her husband once and now she can’t be tried for the same crime again! Which means she can freely kill the lying snake and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop her and they’ll be no repercussions!
Oh Hollywood. They have such a wonderful lax way of bending reality for a cheesy thriller.
Let’s forget about the logic behind this premise and the whole ‘double jeopardy’ jargon. The movie itself is quite a forgettable exercise, other than being a showcase for Judd who I have to say is stunning.
So, despite her being possibly the prettiest convicted murderer ever and holds my attention from scene to scene throughout the entire movie, the movie itself is b-movie silly junk.
This becomes a very Fugitive-type of story. It’s Judd on her own, spending some time in prison, getting focused then avoiding capture by Jones as she tracks down her husband and is looking to reunite with her son. The plot holes, clichés and leaps of logic the movie has are massive. The premise holds about as much water as a bucket with no bottom, so there’s no point in picking that apart. You either swallow it or you don’t.
If you are willing to take that gulp you’ll be treated to watching a gorgeous looking Judd run through an endless series of standard thriller scenes that have long ago become stale. She narrowly escapes Jones, she puts on an act to get information, the cops lose her in a crowd, she gets into car crashes and looks up information on a bunch of computers.
This was around the time the concept of searching things on computers started to gain traction. So there’s a lot of close-ups of computer monitors with names and addresses and stuff. Although, Judd does get to do some old school investigating rifling through an old file cabinet and stealing a paper document.
The clichés wouldn’t be so bad if they were executed in more original or unique ways, but they’re all pretty standard stuff. Maybe if you’re a more forgiving viewer this stuff will go further for you, but other than it being Judd who I’m infatuated with being the one jumping through these standard thriller hoops there was not much else here for me to enjoy.
Plus, the whole idea of this ‘Double Jeopardy’ jargon doesn’t really play much of a part in the story. I would have thought they would milk it with Judd terrorizing and threatening her husband wherever he goes and he becoming increasingly panicked she can just kill him at any given moment. Sort of play up the whole revenge angle without any repercussions for Judd to fear – but not really. She’s only after the more wholesome goal of reuniting with her son. They could have gotten much more mileage out of the setup.
Jones plays a variation of his role in The Fugitive. He’s a tough guy and has some issues. We know this because he pours whisky in his coffee. He has to track Judd down and gradually believes her story. It’s all fairly predictable stuff and he did it better with Harrison Ford.
There’s one scene that always gets me. Judd is in a library trying to look up information on a computer about something. A guy notices her and helps her out. He then asks her out for a drink to which she replies she has to check in with her parole officer first and informs the guy she was convicted of murdering her husband with a knife. At that point the guy bolts, you know the punchline to the scene.
If I was the guy I would have been like, “Oh yeah sure call your parole officer! I’ll wait right here for you! No problem!”
I highly doubt being informed that Judd was on parole would put the breaks on me wanting to take her out! I would just be sure to take her some place where they had plastic utensils.
It’s a pretty cheesy trailer with that narration.