|Beyond a Reasonable Doubt|
|Directed by||Peter Hyams|
|Written by||Peter Hyams|
|Based on||Beyond a Reasonable Doubt|
by Douglas Morrow
|Music by||David Shire|
|Edited by||Jeff Gullo|
|Box office||$4 million|
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is a 2009 American crime thriller film written, directed and shot by Peter Hyams. A remake of Fritz Lang's 1956 film of the same name, it starred Jesse Metcalfe, Michael Douglas and Amber Tamblyn.
Production was announced in February 2008 and filming began the following month. The film was theatrically released on September 11, 2009 by After Dark Films and Anchor Bay Films to extremely negative reviews; it was a box office bomb, earning only $4 million on a $25 million budget.
Reporter C.J. Nicholas built his career on an award-winning documentary about a pregnant teenage prostitute in Buffalo, New York, who died of a drug overdose after the death of her baby. Now a TV reporter in Shreveport, Louisiana, he works to reestablish himself through an investigative unit with fellow reporter Corey Finley.
Nicholas is convinced that District Attorney Mark Hunter is corrupt. A former police detective discussed as a candidate for Governor, Hunter built his career on a string of convictions based on last-minute, circumstantial evidence. After Nicholas flirts with Assistant D.A. Ella Crystal to obtain a videotape, they begin dating, despite his distrust of her boss.
The tape suggests that Hunter uses Lt. Merchant – lead detective on all 17 arrests that led to convictions – to obtain DNA evidence from suspects in custody and plant it to support a conviction. Nicolas is unable to prove how the evidence could be planted, and his boss is forced to cancel his investigative unit due to budget cuts.
Determined to expose Hunter, Nicholas concocts a scheme to frame himself for a prostitute’s murder using circumstantial evidence. Finley reluctantly accompanies him to obtain objects that will link Nicholas to the murder, which he records on video with Nicholas holding a newspaper, showing the date to be after the murder. The original video is kept in Finley's desk with a back-up placed in a safe deposit box.
Nicholas gets himself arrested for DUI by a police contact, Lt. Nickerson, while wearing his falsified circumstantial evidence. He is arrested and charged with the murder, but Merchant requests the case be transferred to him to steal credit for the DA, to Nickerson’s dismay. Upon investigating Nicholas' activity, Merchant informs Hunter that Nicholas is trying to set them up.
Crystal, unaware of Nicholas’ plan, visits him in jail, and he convinces her not to quit her job to join his defense team. The next step in his plan is to wait until the prosecution rests its case, then introduce the documentary evidence exposing the truth. Hunter instructs Merchant to destroy the video evidence, and Finley finds his desk ransacked. He tries to retrieve the back-up, but is killed during a high-speed pursuit with Merchant, and the back-up is destroyed.
Nicholas reveals his plot in court using only the dated receipts for his falsified evidence, but Hunter casts doubt on his story. Nicholas has no proof that the victim's blood, found on his false evidence, was planted by Hunter; with Finley's death, he has no visual proof of his plan. The jury convicts Nicholas, and he is sentenced to death.
Still believing in Nicholas, Crystal begins her own investigation, unaware Hunter knows she is dating Nicholas; she is followed by Merchant. Hunter visits Nicolas on death row to reveal that Nicholas’ phone calls to Crystal, guiding her investigation, have been recorded.
Crystal obtains crime scene photos from Hunter's convictions and takes them to digital photography experts, who determine that each object containing the suspect's DNA were digitally added to the photos after the fact. When she attempts to go to the police, Merchant tries to kill her with his car, but Nickerson shoots Merchant dead, revealing that he had been "following him following" Crystal.
The doctored photo evidence leads to Hunter's arrest in a public scandal. Nicholas is released, his conviction declared a mistrial, and he becomes a media celebrity, while Hunter's convictions are due to be re-examined by the state.
Re-watching Nicholas' documentary, Crystal recognizes the prostitute’s hands as the hands of the victim in the murder for which Nicholas was convicted. She deduces that Nicolas hired the woman to play the prostitute in the documentary; when the woman later came to Shreveport to blackmail Nicholas, he really did kill her, using her murder to expose Hunter.
Confronting Nicholas, Crystal is horrified when he desperately tries to defend himself and he implies that exposing Hunter was worth the woman’s life. Crystal, having already alerted the police, tells Nicholas the flaw in his plan: he is not subject to double jeopardy law because his case was only declared a mistrial. Disgusted, Crystal leaves as the police arrive to arrest Nicholas, but not before telling him that his actions were never about bringing down Hunter, but to protect his life of lies, asking him "how can I love a lie?"
- Jesse Metcalfe as Christopher John "C.J." Nicholas
- Amber Tamblyn as Ella Crystal
- Michael Douglas as Mark Hunter
- Joel David Moore as Corey Finley
- Orlando Jones as Detective Ben Nickerson
- Lawrence P. Beron as Lieutenant Alex Merchant
- Sewell Whitney as Martin Weldon
- David Jensen as Gary Spota
- Sharon K. London as Judge Sheppard
- Krystal Kofie as Taieesha
- Grant James as Aaron Wakefield
- Wallace Merck as Gilbert Romans
- Robert Larriviere as Kevin Lynn Tarlow
- Randal Reeder as Survivalist
The movie was a critical and commercial failure. It has a 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 28 reviews. The New York Times concluded that Amber Tamblyn looked "thoroughly bored" throughout the proceedings. Variety called the remake "entirely soulless". The Los Angeles Times wrote that "the leads can't lend either spunk or gravitas to what was already a preposterous yarn 50 years ago".
- "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
- Frater, Patrick. Trio set for 'Doubt' remake, Variety, February 6, 2008.
- "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt". Rotten Tomatoes. 5 February 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
- Catsoulis, Jeannette. A District Attorney in the Hot Seat, New York Times, September 11, 2009.
- Holland, Jonathan. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Variety, September 3, 2009.
- Abele, Robert. Reasonable doubts about 'Beyond a Reasonable Doubt', Los Angeles Times, September 11, 2009.