Witness (DVD)

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Witness (DVD)

After an Amish boy witnesses police corruption in a Philadelphia train station, a hardened cop takes him and his widowed mother back to their quiet Am...

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Review of "Witness (DVD)"

published 04/09/2006 | read.this.now
Member since : 26/08/2006
Reviews : 16
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Pro A Thrilling Thought Provoking Film
Cons Some immorality shown as the answer to religious narrow mindedness
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"A Thrilling Thought Provoking Film"

The Witness

This film is a Drama, a Romance, and a Thriller all packed into one.
Certificate: 15, Running Time : 1hour 48 minutes Released: 1985
Directed by Australian director Peter Weir (Who also directed "The Year of Living Dangerously"), "Witness" brings two cultures into direct conflict. The drama centres around an Amish boy (Lukas Haas) who witnesses the murder of an undercover policeman in the men's toilet of a train station. His mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis) is travelling with him and both become involved in the police investigation. However Captain John Book (Harrison Ford) who is investigating the case doesn't know that someone is out to kill them. Book, undercover, goes with them to the Amish community and lives there until he can resolve the threat.

DVD features
As far as extras go there is only an interview with Peter Weir and the usual trailer. If you want extras you may want to get the Special Collector's edition which I haven't seen. Apparently it contains a fascinating 75-minute documentary split into five episodes including comments and interviews with director Peter Weir, cinematographer John Seale, and actors Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Haas, and Viggo Mortensen (He was an Amish extra).

Brilliant acting by Ford, Haas and a great contribution Kelly McGillis. "Witness" will amaze you with the mounting suspense and the conflict of values that the characters face. I'm not sure that the film was very favourable to Amish convictions but the premises may cause you to look at your own beliefs and values and to reflect on what you would do. The film's focus on these issues makes the story deep and convincing.

I personally found this film very refreshing and the clash of values was thought provoking. The vulnerability and trust of the community, their willingness to take Book in, the religious small mindedness and the amoral Harrison Character are a recipe for conflict. This film must be almost 20 years old but its central theme is maybe even more relevant today in this age of relative beliefs and values as opposed to the absolutes of the Bible. From my own perspective of the Christian faith, I may differ from the narrow religious viewpoint and the negative legalistic aspects of the community but it is deeply challenging to see how their convictions held the group together. We need more of this!
It is worth noting that the film won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

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Comments on this review

  • RazzaLazza published 04/09/2006
    Might have to check this one out. Had never even heard of it before reading this!
  • kingfisher111 published 04/09/2006
    I loved this film when it first came out at the cinema. Must watch it again!
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Product Information : Witness (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

After an Amish boy witnesses police corruption in a Philadelphia train station, a hardened cop takes him and his widowed mother back to their quiet Amish community. There, hiding from his crooked superiors, he is witness to a simpler and seductively innocent world. Academy Award Nominations: 8, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor--Harrison Ford. Academy Awards: Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing.

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Listed on Ciao since: 24/06/2005