Posted: 10/21/2009


Criminal Justice

by Del Harvey

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Criminal Justice is a compelling thriller written by the highly acclaimed Peter Moffat. Made by BBC Drama Production, Criminal Justice first aired on BBC One and has just been released on DVD by BFS Entertainment.

Rising star Ben Whishaw (Perfume, I’m Not There) heads an impressive British ensemble cast which includes: Pete Postlethwaite (In The Name Of The Father, Brassed Off), Bill Paterson (Sea Of Souls), David Harewood (Blood Diamond, The Vice), Con O’Neill (Learners) and Lindsay Duncan (Longford, Perfect Strangers).

One mad night and Ben Coulter’s life is changed forever. As he gets ready to go out on the town, the 21-year-old looks in the mirror. It will be the last time he’s able to recognise the person who looks back.

Little does Ben know that a wild encounter with a sexy young woman will tear his life apart. Within 24 hours he will be charged with murder and – what’s worse – he can’t remember what happened the night before.

What follows is a rollercoaster ride through the criminal justice system where the truth is optional and what counts is playing the game, in order to come out on top.

No one wants to hear Ben’s side of the story; a complex game of cat and mouse begins as soon as he is arrested, played out between the duty solicitor, the world-weary Stone (Con O’Neill) and the pugnacious DCI Box (Bill Paterson).

Ben’s shocked parents don’t know where to turn and deep down there is a terrifying doubt: could their son really be a murderer?

Ben’s world becomes a labyrinth of oppressive places: police station, prison and courtroom. As Ben steps off the prison bus he has to learn to survive alongside cellmates and hardened career criminals Hooch (Pete Postlethwaite) and Freddie Graham (David Harewood).

Lost in this alien world, Ben has little sense of where things start or finish, and who is in charge.

Pete Postlethwaite is no stranger to starring in compelling dramas, and his role as hardened career criminal Hooch is no exception. Oscar-nominated for his role in 1993’s In The Name Of The Father, which told the story of Gerry Conlon and his dad, who were wrongly accused of being involved in an IRA bomb attack, Postlethwaite’s latest role sees him playing the cell-mate of Ben (played by Ben Whishaw).

Criminal Justice is a powerful film with a superb cast. It releases November 3, 2009.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.

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