The Fugitive

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Directed by   Written by   Main Cast:

Director: Andrew Davis

Writers: Roy Huggins and David N. Twohy

Main Cast:
Harrison Ford – Dr. Richard David Kimble 
Tommy Lee Jones – Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard 
Sela Ward – Helen Kimble 
Julianne Moore – Dr. Anne Eastman 
Joe Pantoliano – Cosmo Renfro 
Andreas Katsulas – Frederick Sykes 
Jeroen Krabbé – Dr. Charles Nichols 
Daniel Roebuck – Biggs 
L. Scott Caldwell – Poole 
Tom Wood (II) – Newman 
Ron Dean (I) – Detective Kelly 
Joseph F. Kosala – Detective Rosetti
Running time: 130 Minutes

Rating: PG-13

Year of Release: 1993 

To sum up: 
Dr. Richard Kimble, a man wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder, misses a train and finds himself free to pursue the real killer. The hitch? The Feds are free to pursue him, who they think is the real killer. 

“What I want out of each and every one of you is a hard target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, hen house, out house and doghouse in that area. Your fugitive’s name is Dr. Richard Kimble.”


         It’s happed to all of us. We have all had the experience of knowing what it’s like to be convicted of a crime that we didn’t commit. Well, sure, maybe you’ve never been convicted of murder but who hasn’t been busted as a kid for something that you’re brother or sister did?

        There is one word that really applies to this movie. That word is smart. Smart. Smart. Smart. Smart in it’s concept. A man who is innocent is given the death sentence for the murder of his wife. Right away there is sympathy for the guy. Right away, the viewer is pulling for him, hoping against hope that he’ll get away, that he’ll clear his name. It’s one of the most simplistically creative ways that a viewer can be drawn into a film.

        The film is also smart about the speed of getting to the chase. The murder, trial and conviction are concluded in a well-edited prologue that is finished within the first ten minutes of the film; so very quickly we are plunged into the escape and pursuit.

        It’s smart in it’s casting. Harrison Ford is a good choice for the role of Richard Kimble. On the surface it seems like a pretty simple role. It really isn’t though. Or I should say that it doesn’t have to be. It requires a more subtle style of acting because a lot of the character is revealed only through expressions and occasional dialogue. Thankfully, Ford is the type of actor that can produce depth and speak in volumes with the expressions of his face. There are times of late when I have become annoyed with his sometimes minimalist approach to acting as I tried in vain to search for an outward sign of emotion, any open display of personality, but in this film, it serves him well. It’s a role that asks for the actor to be quiet and unassuming and that’s just what Ford brings. He masterfully uses his face, displaying a wide variety of emotions to let us into the psychology of his character. We see a range of emotions from rage, bewilderment, hopelessness, desperation, and fear. Occasionally, humor creeps in as Ford gives us that faltering crooked smile of his.

        Contrast him with Tommy Lee Jones who plays the larger-than-life Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard. It is with him that the movie really shines. Not only does have the best lines in the film, not only does he have a likable personality with the headstrong determination to always get his man, but the film is smart in the fact that while he is technically an antagonist, there to prevent Ford from reaching his goal and clearing his name, he is allowed to be three dimensional as he gradually comes to understand what Richard Kimble is trying to do. He is not a close minded cop.

        The film is also smart in its execution. Everything in the film is realistically grounded with no outrageous leaps of fancy (save surviving a leap from a dam). The pursuit of Kimble is done in a logical way, just one step behind our hero.

        One quick comment about doing something for real if it can be fit into the budget. Undoubtedly the most talked about set piece in this film is the train wreck. It looks spectacular. Amazing. Almost real. Why? Because IT IS REAL. They decided that for authenticity, it would be easier to use a real train. And because they chose to do so, this sequence is truly jaw dropping. It delivers on a level that special effects can’t produce even in these digital times.

        So if you want to relive those feelings of being pursued for a crime you didn’t commit, The Fugitive is one of the best.



(2003. Reviewed by Frederick Holbrook)


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