The logistics of this movie was amazing. To direct all those extras to act in a film-worthy manner is a herculean feat. For this reason alone I give the movie a high rating. But I also liked it on the level of a plain movie-watcher. It had me on the edge of my seat thruout. I felt that I was right in the middle of it all. James Nesbitt was superb.
A nice entertaining suspenseful quirky '50s B-movie with a straight-forward no-frills script and dialogue. I liked this flick each of the two times I saw it, years apart.
Stand-outs are: Edward Platt as an eccentric mastermind crook, Kathleen Crowley: you can feel her pain and disappointment; and Gregg Palmer, torn between love and greed.
The drawback is that the movie was deceptively packaged as a "beatnik/rebel" move-which it was, of course, not about (except for a few semi-coffeehouse scenes).
Cruel Doubt is one of my favorite TV movies. When I first saw it I expected to be disappointed but was actually surprised how true John Gay's teleplay was to the Joe McGinniss book. That was not an easy accomplishment (for writer or actor) because much of the latter part of the true story deals with a psychological pendulum slowly swinging between a son who enabled a violent murder plot (for inheritance and ultimate D & D game points) that killed his step-father and left his mother clinging to life—and a mother who understandably could not accept her own son's hand in such a deed no matter how much police evidence pointed to him.
This builds into an unbearable psychological pressure for both the son who must admit his role or go insane and the mother who can't bear to even consider the truth—until a breaking point is reached
This was a well done TV movie both visually and script-wise amid an ominous backdrop of campus clique druggie obsession with the pro-active mythological Dungeons & Dragons game.
Some good acting in both larger and lesser roles by Blythe Danner, Adam Baldwin, John C McGinley, Travis Fine, William Forsythe, David Arquette, Neal McDonagh, Miguel Ferrer, G.D. Spradlin, Ed Asner, R.D. Call etc.
I really liked this movie. The background music set a perfect tone for this gritty film noir-ish indie. I thought many of the scenes were artistically framed using shadows, tilts and overhead shots. Also, great acting performances and/or screen presence by James Handy (priest), Oliver Platt, Malachy McCourt, Rosario Dawson, Ed Burns, John Coleman and Gregg Bello.
A few drawbacks from not giving the movie a top rating: I thought Elijah Wood was miscast (although on 2nd and 3rd viewing I could accept him—and even got to like his performance—but it's the initial impression that usually makes or breaks it for a viewer). And I also was a bit turned off by the endless foul language.
But all in all, a dark, moody artistic little movie that kept my attention throughout.