Killing ’em Again
For suspension of disbelief, the idea that Ashley Judd can legally murder on-screen husband Bruce Greenwood – after he fakes his death – is fine. Not fine is Judd’s recklessness, smashing cars, injuring people, and causing near death with her every escape.
Judd’s the heroine, both a vengeful wife and desperate mother, making Double Jeopardy relatable in a hyper-feminist way that’s ultimately too ridiculous a fantasy. While the script emphasizes her motherly instinct (and when given the first opportunity in public to do what she wants to Greenwood, Judd only asks for her son), the sheer glee and satisfaction intended for the audience to exude during the climax suggests otherwise.
If Double Jeopardy says so, there’s no time to consider the base logic at fault
Double Jeopardy is an efficient thriller though, rarely slowing down, often cognizant of plot holes, and willing to ride this concept in totality. If Double Jeopardy says so, there’s no time to consider the base logic at fault. Judd’s actions then butt against the intelligence, a smart woman making dopey decisions out of trust for her ex and not-dead husband. Maybe that’s her desperation; she’ll do anything to see her son. Still, a nonsense choice for a woman supposedly heartbroken about her child.
Less than about a parent and a child, Double Jeopardy carries a decided mean streak. Tommy Lee Jones steps into the story after the first act, sending away a woman on probation for a single rule break. Greenwood’s slick, fine art-buying, woman-killing, sadistic, masculine persona keeps his kid away from his mother. And Judd, relentless and fearless, at the expense of anyone in her way.
A modern twist on the feminine revenge exploitation genre, Judd does what she can with the role. The script’s core legal concept unwraps any goodwill toward her character. Anyone watching Double Jeopardy does so with the expectation of watching a lawful killing, and that of a scumbag with no other possible character traits. It’s odd to find any doubt, qualm, or question incinerated by the end as Double Jeopardy moves toward the only conclusion a movie like this will have. It’s not a movie without moments so much as an overarching thematic reach that plays into a twisted bad marriage fantasy.
Way, way overdue for a Blu-ray, let alone a 4K, Paramount strikes a new master for this release. The original film stock looks flawless, and the scan itself rushes detail into the frame. Texture thrives with only the slightest misgivings regarding processing/filtering. On the rarest of occasions, some smearing can be detected. Grain might appear suspect in certain moments. Overall, Double Jeopardy’s aesthetic is natural, crisp, and well defined.
Color grading respects the material as-is. Don’t expect primaries to swell or flesh tones to exaggerate; it’s natural. Density however shows great improvement, giving this late ’90s effort a reasonable zest.
Likewise, depth and contrast stay restrained. Double Jeopardy has moments where the highlights excel, whether it’s sunlight off the ocean, New Orleans’ neons, or some interior lights. Black levels work consistently to enhance the shadows and avoid crush.
The choice here is Dolby TrueHD, and it’s a quiet, reserved, low volume mix barring those few moments when in action. Ambiance does happen (listen to people sliding around the pool at the opening party). Moments in the prison fail to do the same though, as sirens and echo-y chatter remain almost entirely in the front channels. Car chases add a slight transition as tires squeal into each speaker, but nothing aggressive.
A short interview with director Bruce Beresford and an ancient making of reside on the Blu-ray.
Double Jeopardy rarely breathes during its cross-country chase that delves into parental instinct, revenge, and determination.
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 43 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: