What a cast.Richard Gere (whom I normally hate), Andre Braugher, Alfre Woodard, John Mahoney, Laura Linney, Frances McDormand.
Oh, and Edward Norton.
He's the reason to see this movie.
A Chicago priest is murdered by an altarboy (Norton). Gere's the guy who takes the seemingly impossible to win case. He's basically a publicity hound. But when the truth comes out, and the seemingly innnocent Norton starts to exhibit less than innocent characteristics, well, it gets interesting.
What could've been a standard courtroom drama is actually an interesting suspense yarn involving multiple personalities, and the playing of one defense lawyer for a fool.
Norton is outstanding in his debut (this beat Everyone Says I Love You into theaters by seven or eight months), and the rest of cast tries to floow his lead but gets left in his wake. Gere's actually not that bad, and Linney is better here than in any other film she's been in, but they just can't compete with Norton. He's completely mesmerizing as the altarboy who may be hiding another personality...or may just be deviously clever. It won him a Best Supporting actor Golden Globe in 1997.
Directed with a light touch by Gregory Hoblit (1998's Fallen), Primal Fear works primarily because of the actors, specifically Norton. It's a fine performance.Plus , Andre Braugher rips off a guy's earring. While it's still on the ear. Ouch.