Monday, September 19, 2011


A recently widowed Amish woman travels with her young son to visit her sister in Baltimore. During a layover in Philadelphia, the boy wanders around in amazement of the foreign surroundings and enters the men's room where he witnesses a murder. A dedicated homicide detective detains the boy and their mother, and it quickly becomes clear the crime was part of a police cover-up and the detective, the woman, and her son must lam it at her home in Amish country. Peter Weir's "Witness" weaves its two stories on an incredibly beautiful palette, showing the gritty side of the Philadelphia scenes and painting the scenes in the countryside with plush elegant colors. Harrison Ford is remarkable here and gets to show his range first as the tough action hero we are familiar with and later and predominantly as a light romantic lead (while still maintaining his toughness). Kelly McGillis is pretty good here as the Amish woman who grows to love Ford but can never leave her community, and I really liked the work of Lukas Haas as the young boy. I'm really hesitant to criticize the film, because its honestly one of the best looking I've seen, but I felt the murder story loses some of its urgency during the scenes on the farm, which are still very fine in and of themselves. So we have a great looking film, and very fine Harrison Ford performance, a fish out of water movie, a treatise on the Amish, and a story of a love that could never be, but we also have a crime picture that acts as an antidote to the countless mind numbing pictures in the genre.