Reversal of Fortune, based on the book by Alan Dershowitz
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
This is a very good movie.
It could have been fantastic, if everybody played at the level of Jeremy Irons.
Glenn Close was good too.
But it was Jeremy Irons who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture- Drama and so many other important prizes around the globe.
The film was also nominated for other Academy Awards, best director and best writing, Golden globes for best drama and won was nominated for other awards.
It is based on the real story of Sunny and Claus von Bülow, as told by the lawyer of the latter in a book about the trial and its preparation.
Early on, the public learns that Sunny von Bülow has been in a vegetative state for a long time and she will probably never recover.
She will remain brain dead and her husband has been accused of attempted murder, found guilty and sentenced.
The title of the film refers to an attempt at a
- Reversal of Fortune
For that a fabulous lawyer is hired.
Professor Alan Dershowitz is not the kind of lawyer that we hear about in the multitude of infamous lawyer jokes
Speaking of which, there’s one
Scientists have decided to stop testing medicine on lab rats and instead work on lawyers and this for three reasons:
1. People get attached to rats
2. There are not enough lab rats
3. There are some things even rats won’t do
Having said this lousy, mean thing, the reality is tragic, for this line of work has the highest suicide rate, divorce and depression rates.
We should not laugh at lawyers but offer compassion, at least in America, over in other lands, here included; I think we are talking a different ball game.
I did not like Ron Silver and Annabella Sciorra, the actors playing the lawyer and his ex- girlfriend and now colleague in the defense team.
In fact, pretty much all that took place in the defense quarters, with the basketball and much of the rest had an air of artifice for this viewer.
Yes, Claus was pretentious, arrogant and infatuated quite often, but the manner in which Jeremy Irons rendered these traits was not forced, over the top, which was the way Silver did it or I wrongly saw that he did.
Claus had jokes for insulin that he orders in pharmacies and has the assistants terrified since they know what he is accuse of and how he supposedly did it.
Claus von Bülow talks with gusto and jocularity about:
- Claus – trophobia…you get it, right?
The fact that the personage is so complex, one can hate him and still doubt whether he tried to kill his spouse makes the film more interesting.
Details are uncovered that point to the framing of a relative that step children considered a priori responsible for Sunny’s death.
Sunny was quite a character too.
She was formidable, domineering, depressed, alcoholic, addicted to drugs, smoking three packs of cigarettes a day and suffering from various conditions.
So it looks like a jury cannot really say that Claus is beyond any reasonable doubt guilty and the only aspect left is: The moral responsibility
As the lawyer says:
- “One thing, Claus. Legally, this was an important victory. Morally - you're on your own…”
Alan Dershowitz: You are a very strange man.
Claus von Bülow: You have no idea.