Primal Fear : Hard Evidence Edition [DVD]


By Ashley Hillard

The 80’s and 90’s feature some of the best films in Hollywood’s history.  Not all of them are great, of course, but the plots seem to be more character driven whereas more modern films rely heavily on the latest and greatest technologies to circumvent the importance of a strong narrative.  Richard Gere is at his peak in Primal Fear as defense attorney Martin Vail, brooding and sexy, Gere makes you forget about the gerbil rumors and focus on his appeal and talent.  Equally impressive is Laura LInney, pretty but not plastic and perfect like many current leading ladies tend to be, she is relatable and likeable.

Better than a two hour season finale of ”Law and Order”, ”Primal Fear” keeps the audience on its toes almost a decade after it first hit theaters.  Ed Norton’s break out role as a possible murderer has him playing three characters impressively well and led to his Oscar nomination for the role.  This is a film that has withstood time to remain relevant and gripping.

Norton plays an altar boy accused of killing a prominent priest in the Catholic Church.  His story opens a can of worms detailing abuse of power in the Church (before it became a popular subject in film) and winds the audience through feelings of sympathy and shock at what really happened that day.  Gere is a slick defense attorney, think Gloria Allred’s other half, who can’t get enough media attention.  He takes on the controversial case and puts himself in the limelight, risking a lot along the way to get the boy he believes is innocent off of death row.  The end serves up a major twist that leaves Vail wanting out of the spotlight.


The DVD comes in an “evidence bag” and is full of great extras, such as interviews with the crew and actors reflecting on the film and how it came together.  Deborah Aquila gives a great interview detailing the difficult process of finding the right fit for Aaron (Ed Norton).  The original previews and trailers are also included in the bonus features, but the most interesting part of the features is Psychology of Guilt, which lets the viewer in on the process of the temporary insanity plea from both the psychological and legal perspectives.

Overall, if you’re a fan of the movie or big into ”Law and Order”,” CSI”, etc., this a great DVD to add to your collection.