Film: The Accused
Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Writer: Tom Topor
Starring: Kelly McGillis, Jodie Foster and Bernie Coulson
In this film we begin with a young man, played by Bernie Coulson, making a call to 911 from a payphone about a rape happening. As this is going on, Jodie Foster runs from the bar, holding up her torn shirt, screaming for help.
Next we find Foster in the hospital being examined. While this takes place, a female deputy DA comes into her room, played by Kelly McGillis. From here we see the beginning of the case being formed. McGillis is leery about taking it to trial because of the questionable character of Foster. Instead they get the three men who are accused to accept pleas and go away for non-sexual offenses with little prison time.
This enrages Foster. She doesn’t understand how the crime could happen and then the guys get away with it in her eyes with the deal. McGillis finally sees how much it bothers her when Foster ends up in the hospital after attacking the ‘ring leader’ of the men. He was cheering on the attackers of Foster. She is also upset that she never got to tell her side of the tale.
McGillis finds a charge she thinks she can convince a jury to pin on the three men who where cheering and encouraging the attackers. At the risk of losing her job, losing the case and letting down Foster, she decides to prosecute the men and not give them any deals.
This film was surprisingly very good to me. Foster did a great job as playing the gritty waitress that was attacked. McGillis also does well as being the ‘well-to-do’ DA who sees another woman’s plight and wants to help her, even if she doesn’t know if she can do it or not.
The story of the film is interesting and something we see all the time, even today. The social commentary is also interesting with one of the attackers being a fraternity guy from college with his high-priced lawyer against the woman who is questionable in character, but was still a victim. On top of that, Foster’s character said and did things that could have hurt her in the courtroom, but doesn’t understand why.
The reason this is included into the horror film research is that this is a horrible thing to happen. It is even worse that it looks like these men will get away with what they did. It shows how the courtroom system doesn’t always work. I feel horrible that no one believes the story she is telling and even if they believe her story, she has lived a rough life and they aren’t sure if a jury would believe her. It is sad when the guys who do live a better life can get away with things like they try to in this film. It is a scary thing to feel that no matter what you do, no one believes you and if you aren’t as successful, you don’t deserve justice.
With that said, I would recommend giving this one a viewing. The courtroom scenes are good for the realism and also sad for how lawyers can twist things. The rape scene is powerful and it is surprisingly realistic. I would recommend this film; it is dated to the 80s, but still a very well done picture.
My Rating: 7 out of 10