Witness Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the movie. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Witness is one of those thriller films with the lead on the run as he has to quickly think of what to do next. I would say the main difference here compared to most is that there is actually a large portion of the film where there isn’t any real action. Instead you have John getting used to the Amish life before the big climax. I would still say it works well though and it’s a solid all around movie.

The story starts with Rachel and her son Samuel heading off to the big city. I forget exactly why they were here but they’ll be heading back to the Amish community pretty soon. Their plans are derailed though when her son Samuel witnesses a murder in the bathroom. A cop was murdered by two attackers, one who is another officer. So this was an inside job but why? That’s for John Book to find out but in the meantime Rachel and Samuel have to stick around as material witnesses. This changes when the corruption appears to go higher than John thought possible so they have to take off. Hiding in an Amish community is a good bet but how long will this last?

For once the villains actually have a tough time locating the heroes because of how nobody here uses phones or anything like that. Nobody is really playing ball with helping the villains get in either so they have to take the long approach to this. It’s an interesting dynamic and something that’s not seen very often at all. So I liked the change of pace here and John is a good sport about trying to fit in. He may not be too familiar with their ways but this doesn’t stop him from helping out like with carpentry.

John isn’t willing to go all the way like suddenly being a pacifist when someone is picking a fight. He still insists on doing things his way and can’t say that I blame him there. I understand it’s the Amish way not to fight back when you’re being attacked at least based on this film but to me it definitely can hit a point where it goes too far and so of course you have to defend yourself here. If John didn’t do anything then things were only going to keep on escalating. So I could definitely back him up there.

In general he’s just a very reasonable character and does well the whole time. Even at the end of the film he makes the right call I would say. Choosing to stay would have been messy and he has a lot of responsibilities of his own. In the end you can count on him to make a rational decision no matter what. As for the heroine Rachel, she is at a bit of a crossroads in her life as she starts to see how the system can be a bit restrictive but at the same time it’s all that she’s ever known. I feel like she would have ended up choosing John over everything if he had asked but ultimately neither one wanted to make the first move.

Rachel is initially very antagonistic towards him but gradually softens up as the film goes on. Her son Samuel did well to not get murdered during the opening scene. He was able to think fast which came in handy and then he also had a critical moment near the end of the film. As far as kids go he was okay. Then I liked John’s partner Carter. Ultimately that guy was a real loyal companion. Usually things don’t go well for that character in these things so you can always appreciate their bravery for doing the right thing and standing up to the villains.

Schaeffer is the main villain here and he’s certainly a difficult obstacle to get past for John. I thought he was handled well here as a solid mastermind type character. You know that he’s quite twisted right from the jump even as he’s always joking around. To him murder just isn’t that big of a deal and he’s the kind of villain you really want to avoid. Ultimately they’re lucky that he wasn’t any crazier because the ending could have easily turned out badly for all parties involved. It was still a good plan of course but yeah it came close to backfiring in the end.

Really the weakest part of the film is the romance. It just doesn’t have much of a purpose being here. It’s expected as soon as we find out that Rachel is a single mom and all but it still doesn’t feel natural. It would have been a lot better to have kept them as friends. Additionally you have her childhood friend who seems to expect that he will marry her someday but she’s not really in love with him. He seems like the fallback plan since she feels like she has to marry someone at some point. With how the film goes it seems like this is still on the table but it has to be in the least satisfying way possible for both of them. How could either one of them be happy with the setup being this way? All this is going to do is frustrate both of them.

The action scenes are solid and John has to try and hang in there without his gun for a little while. That helps to make the climax a little more tense the whole time since it would have been a lot easier if he had his gun. The battle in the parking area was also solid. The movie has a very fast beginning and ending. The middle will drag if you’re expecting a lot of action but the non-action scenes were still solid. Rachel’s father Eli could be annoying as he was super rigid in his customs though. You definitely want someone who’s a little more flexible so you can have a real dialogue there. He didn’t do much to try and close the gap between them.

Overall, Witness is a pretty good movie. I thought the writing and plot were sound. Corruption can always be a good vehicle for a lot of scenarios and having John use the Amish location as a way to hide was genius. I did always think it was an interesting lifestyle. It’s not for me since I need my electronics and everything but I’m sure it’s a good way to really build a lot of community and for everyone to get used to leaning on each other when the going gets tough. In the big city life you’re less likely to get close to a lot of people like that.

Overall 7/10

The Client Review

The Client is one of those films where you have different factions who are both technically good guys but they’re at odds with each other so you have to choose who to root for. Meanwhile the real villains are still on the loose so you have to hope that the heroes can take them down in time. The Client is definitely a solid film, one that would have been even better if the main character was older but still good all the same.

The movie starts with Mark and his brother Rick out in the woods when they see a guy trying to destroy himself using fumes from his car. Mark decides to prevent this from happening but ends up being caught. Fortunately he is able to escape right as the guy is blown up but this traumatizes Rick so that he can no longer talk. This ends up being a big deal because the guy who destroyed himself had the big testimony that was going to seal the case for Reverend Roy. Roy figures that he may have told the kid the location of the missing body that would be the ultimate proof to convict one of the gang heads known as Muldano.

Mark is approached by the mob and told not to say anything though or they will destroy him and his family. As evidence of their sincerity they burn down his home but of course nobody can prove it. Mark figures that he will need an attorney and hires a lady named Reggie. She is nice enough to be doing this case for free but how much can she help Mark when the guy is keeping so many secrets from her? The trial is in a few days so everyone is on the clock.

The Mob and Roy both want to be the first ones to the body to destroy or salvage it and they each have a hurdle here. The Mob knows where the body is but have a hard time getting past security to find it. Roy wouldn’t have that trouble since he is security but doesn’t know where the body is. That’s why the whole situation with Mark keeping the secrets tends to be annoying. I’m often not a fan of kids being the main character in a film like this and this movie really reinforces why that is the case.

There are a lot of scenes here where if Mark was a grown up then the film would have ended early. Strike a deal with Roy to enter the witness protection program or something and then tell him about the body. That would have been the best way to do things and would have ended the film in minutes. The problem is that he won’t tell anyone including his own attorney. I thought Mark was very ungrateful to her considering that she doesn’t even need to be helping him. Reggie does everything that she can but Mark tends to storm off every other scene instead of actually helping.

Suffice to say, he was one of the worst characters in the film. Any scene with him was one where he was impeding the legal process and just putting everyone into more danger than they needed to be. Reggie would have wrapped this whole thing up a lot sooner otherwise. Maybe tell her that a member of the mob broke into the hospital so they could get some more security around the place? That would have been productive at least. His mother’s also rather mean to Reggie for no real reason either.

Reggie is really given a tough task here but she still does her best to get to the bottom of this in every scenario. She talks tough to Roy during each of their confrontations and usually comes out on top. Only time she is left on the defensive is when Mark withheld more crucial info from her that Roy was able to find. It’s tough to defend someone when they give you fake stories all the time. Ultimately she did go with him to the dangerous spot to find the body and really came in clutch each time.

As for Roy, he was a fun character. I like the levels of confidence he brought with him to each of the hearings. It’s easy to see why he is known as one of the best in the business. When he has an opening he takes it and just rides this all the way to the end. He does want to get more political power but it’s clear that he has earned the position that he has currently. He studied a lot to get to this point and it’s all paid off quite nicely. Even in his first questioning with Mark he was able to defeat the kid quite handily. A few more minutes and he would have won if not for Reggie showing up.

The villain Muldano is more on the forgettable side though. There’s not really a whole lot to him. He flies off the handle too much which is what gets him into these jams in the first place. When the alarm went off in the climax his only hope was to quickly charge the heroes since fleeing would confirm that they got the bodies. Ultimately he wasn’t quite brave enough for this and that’s why he’s not the top boss of the mob.

The Client is really solid because the writing is strong. Put the kids to the side and you can really focus on the solid banter between Reggie and Roy. They’re both professionals on opposite sides of the fence here so they really have to go at it. The court scenes with the judge were a lot of fun as well. These bits don’t take up most of the movie but the scenes that we do get are really presented well.

We also get a good amount of thriller elements and a reasonably tense atmosphere that works well here. I don’t really have any big negatives here aside from the main character who was just really grating the whole time. I would have written him out after the intro scene so most of the big scenes were with Reggie instead as the mob goes after her. It would switch the movie up a bit but also ensure that all of the characters are solid.

Overall, The Client is a good film and I’d recommend checking it out. You really get to see the dangers of being a witness and ensuring that you have a good deal set up before telling all that you know. If Reggie wasn’t there to make sure of that, it seems like Roy’s team would have left the witness off to dry. In a dangerous business like this you have to keep your guard up and wits about you at all time. I’m always up for a film that deals with the court room so this worked out nicely.

Overall 6/10