The Confession (1999)
Directed by David Hugh Jones
Starring: Ben Kingsley, Alec Baldwin, Amy Irving
This 1999 film was directed by David Hugh Jones, who has also directed films like Jacknife (1989) and Betrayal (1983). This time it was Ben Kingsley (Ghandi) and Alec Baldwin (Glengarry Glen Ross) in front of the camera. The story is based on a novel written by Sol Yurick.
The lives of Harry (Kingsley) and Sarah Fertig (Irving) are shattered when their young son Stevie dies of a curable illness. In his grief, Harry Fertig decides to take revenge by killing those he feels are responsible. Now he’s behind bars awaiting a trial he doesn’t want. His attorney on the other hand, is determined to give him the best defense possible. Now attorney Roy Bleakie (Baldwin) has his hands full as he meets a client willing to take responsibility. This determination forces Roy to look at his own desires and how his morality is affecting them.
This movie was a surprisingly good experience for me. Kingsley is one of my favorite actors and Baldwin is great, but I had not heard of this movie before I stumbled across it recently. The story is the best part of the film, wrestling with morality and ethics from all angles and really leaving a lot to think about.
The acting is the star of this movie. I think it needed some passion behind the story to make it interesting since it’s a movie about morals. This came in the form of Ben Kingsley and Alec Baldwin. They are both the stars of the film, making up for some weaker performances by some of the supporting cast. This isn’t to say that Amy Irving and some of the other actors were bad, they just didn’t seem to bring the emotional intensity their roles called for.
Overall this was a good movie, but not a great movie. I would recommend this one to anyone who likes courtroom dramas or either of the two stars. I would also suggest this film to anyone who likes moral conflict in films. The drama is intense and there is some violence early in the movie. I give this one 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Running Time: 114 minutes