Although critics were extremely harsh on this thriller, it rose above those remarks to take in a major sum at the box office. Although I didn't see it at the theater, I found that it wasn't terribly awful while watching it on the small-screen. Yes, the movie is a lot of nonsense for most of the running time, but it does boast a very strong, very intense performance from Ashley Judd as the wrongly accused woman - I think that the movie wouldn't work half as well as it does without her.
The story begins with Libby Parsons(Judd) waking up on a sailboat with a knife in her hand - she is instantly suspected of killing her husband, whose body isn't anywhere to be found. She's quickly convincted in a trial sequence and finds herself in jail. While in jail though, she finds that her husband isn't dead and that he's taken her son with him. She gets out of jail and heads for revenge - since she's already been convincted in the death of her husband, she can't get tried again. Her new parole officer (Tommy Lee Jones in yet another "Fugitive"-like movie) is quickly running after her.
Judd, who hasn't really impressed me before, is almost shockingly good in this role. The movie is unreal event after unbelievable event, but Judd is so intense and emotional in the role that I went along with her. In a movie like this that's otherwise so silly, that's saying quite a bit. Tommy Lee Jones isn't really too great in the role, playing a light version of his role that he played not only in "The Fugitive", but also "U.S. Marshals".
As good as Judd's performance is, it doesn't redeem the rest of the movie. While Judd succeeds at attaining the dramatic strength, the movie as a whole doesn't really manage to gain a lot of tension throughout and what intensity there is doesn't really begin until about 45 minutes into the movie. Director Bruce Beresford, who is certainly a good director ("Driving Mrs. Daisy"), he doesn't seem to be the right director to helm a big-budget thriller like this. "Double Jeopardy" has a great performance from Ashley Judd, but the other elements that make up the movie around her are less-than-average.
VIDEO: Paramount is still not perfect in some areas of DVD production, but I have to say this: it's my opinion that they've made major improvements in the kind of picture quality that they offer on their releases. They present "Double Jeopardy" in a very, very good anamorphic transfer that only has the slightest little flaw here and there. There's not a moment where the transfer isn't impressively sharp - it also offers very good detail. There are plenty of scenes throughout the movie that offer wonderful, warm colors that look vibrant and rich. There is also some fantastic scenery on display, especially during the early portion of the film. There are never any problems at all with the color throughout the film. Black level is strong throughout and fleshtones remain accurate and natural.
The flaws that are displayed are so minor that the beauty which a lot of the scenes display overshadows any problems. There's the very slightest mark or two on the print used, and trace amounts of shimmering here and there. Other than that, this stands up as one of the very best I've seen from the studio.
SOUND: The audio quality for "Double Jeopardy" is certainly enjoyable, but it's not a film that's going to impress. While there are no problems with it, it's just not a very intense film in terms of audio - surrounds are put to effective use on occasion once the movie finally turns more intense. Still, I liked the score by Normand Corbeil and it sounds really good throughout the film - dynamic and extremely clear. Dialogue is also quite good - very natural and easily understood.
MENUS:: Not much effort went into the menu here - basically just taken from the cover art. At least everything's easily navigated (unfortunately, because there isn't much there, which I'll talk about in the extras section).
EXTRAS: For a movie that did unbelievably well at the box office, you would think "Double Jeopardy" would be a bigger special edition - nope. All you get here is a trailer and a medium-length featurette.
Final Thoughts: I really liked Judd's performance, but I still have to say that I'd recommend renting this movie first.
The Film C
Video 97/A = (388/400 possible points)
Audio: 90/A- = (360/400 possible points)
Extras: 70/C- = (210/300 possible points)
Menus: 65/D = (130/200 possible points)
Value: 81/B = (243/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: C
DVD GRADE: B