It is great to see that director Peter Hyams is still working.
I am not sure that this movie needed to be made, released on DVD or even Blu-ray for that matter.Beyond a Reasonable doubt is a convoluted tale that masquerades as a thriller, wrapped up in noir, mixed with courtroom antics from today's headlines. C.J. Nicolas (Jesse Metcalfe) plays a reporter who is looking for a story. He finds one in the case files of his girlfriend Ella (Amber Tamblyn), when Nicolas suspects that celebrated District Attorney Mark Hunter (Michael Douglas) might be toying with evidence in order to pad his record and win victory in an upcoming election.
Okay... after this the film pretty much loses me...
Told by his bosses not to pursue this story, Nicolas goes about doing it anyway and suddenly finds himself trying to position himself as a false killer, only to see if Hunter will try and plant evidence against him. Now Nicolas, who has made himself guilty, has got to prove his innocence. If the last line of this Blu-ray D review didn't make sense you are not alone.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is stylish. It has a minute amount of Director Peter Hyam's look and touch (he not only directs but shoots his movies), however, not even a tiny dose of that can save the poor storytelling conventions employed here.
Peter Hyams and Jesse Metcalfe sit back and discuss making this film. As someone who is a big fan of Hyams (he directed Running Scared, 2010, The Star Chamber, etc.) I really looked forward to hearing what he had to say about the movie. He and Metcalfe discuss what they were looking to achieve in certain scenes, how it's difficult fitting in all the logistics of a thriller into a movie that must conform to a certain length, and, of course, what it was like working with Academy Award winning actor Michael Douglas.
Making of Beyond Reasonable Doubt
As if the plot of this film wasn't bad enough... this short piece talks about how important forensic evidence can be in proving or not proving a case. One might've thought they would have tried to go a tad deeper here but that never happens. It is almost like the supplemental team for this DVD has forgotten that CSI and other crime shows, where forensics serve as the lynchpin, have been on TV for years.
Video codec: VC-1. Video resolution: 1080p. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt lid. However, Peter Hyams, since he shoots his movies, usually adds something of a cinematic signature to his films. None of that is really present here. This movie plays simply, the lighting is Broadway bright and the best effect this has is that it makes this movie look good on Blu-ray. I didn't see any points where Anchor Bay/Starz messed up the compression of this disc but sometimes, with things being so dyspeptic, one might've wished that they had.
English: LPCM 5.1. English: Dolby Digital 5.1. English: LPCM 5.1. English: Dolby Digital 5.1 (less). Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish - English SDH, Spanish (less). Like the images that comprise this film the audio is in place but that doesn't mean that it does anything too special here. I guess I might be asking too much. After all, this isn't a movie of personal expression. It is image conscious filmmaking in its purest form and all of that plays to solid effect here. I really can't fault this release for not being anything more than it is because it never purported to be anything more that it is.
Starz/Anchor Bay have pulled a Fox Home Entertainment and sent us this release without packaging. As such, I have nothing to write about here.
I recall seeing the TV commercials for this movie and thinking that it didn't look like anything that great. Also, seeing Douglas as the villain, and with no other name grabbing actors in the film, it actually seemed more like a way for Starz/Anchor Bay to make a name for themselves with such a release. While this movie might play well on your Blu-ray player, ultimately I just can't get behind it. There isn't anything happening here that we haven't already seen, and ultimately in playing toward the conventions of the genre, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, seems to be playing against itself.