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Review Physical Evidence (1989): It's like a comedy without the jokes!

genre: crime, thriller, mystery







Word of caution! Michael Crichton only directed this film. He didn't write the script. If there ever was need for some of his cynicism it was in this film.

Trust me if I say that I have given Physical Evidence a real chance to impress me. Not that I had huge expectations. But I at least was hoping it was going to be a decent whodunnit. It starts out quite well where Joe Paris (Burt Reynolds) is apprehended by the police for murder. Fun detail is that Joe Paris is a cop himself. One who is suspended for being at odds with his partner who tried to frame a Hispanic man. Joe Paris might be many things but he is righteous and honorable. However he is a man who has many enemies and not exactly one who accepts help willingly. 

Enter Jenny Hudson (Therese Russel) who has asked to be put on the case and gets more than she bargained for. I personally liked her and the dynamics between her and Burt. However I can't deny that at times her acting was too monotonous and distant. In the scenes where she is overwhelmed by the situation and is forced to fight you can tell there is more going on with her character. It's such a big contrast and completely unnecessary. Still it does reveal one of the biggest problems of the film. Often certain events are played out in comedic fashion almost like they were ripped directly from a farce. There is nothing wrong with humour and comedy had there actually been some tension and suspense. For whatever reason this is completely absent. There are a million red herrings. But none of them are compelling or thrilling. And none of them are used in the way they should be used. The big reveal at the end could have been the one thing that would turn events upside down. Unfortunately it also ends as one big joke. 

Was I supposed to take this film seriously? None of the actors do so why should I? If like me you were hoping for at least a decent whodunnit. Then I will have to disappoint you. It has some of the ingredients but not the vital ones. Do yourself a favour, ignore this one!




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