An above-average fact-based thriller, Fugitive Among Us stars Eric Roberts as a slit-eyed Texas fugitive and Peter Strauss as a stressed-out cop determined to prove that Roberts’ character is a serial rapist and murderer.
Early in the movie, Roberts’ Cal Harper is arrested by Strauss’ Max Cole for the crimes; convicted, Harper maintains his innocence and escapes before going to jail. Cole has just gone through a divorce, he’s depressed and angry at the world, and he decides to make the recapture of Harper his main goal in life. Fugitive, directed by Michael Toshiyuki Uno (Without Warning: The James Brady Story), shows us the years Cole spent tracking down Harper, even as it slowly adds details to Harper’s life that suggest he might have been telling the truth and didn’t commit the crimes.
It’s interesting to watch the two clashing acting styles in Fugitive. Strauss plays Cole in a poker-faced, quiet manner, just hinting at the pain beneath his hard-boiled exterior; Roberts glories in a loonily exaggerated good-ol’-boy accent and wide grins that seem malevolent around the edges. The script, by Gordon Greisman (Drug Wars: Colombia), will keep you guessing: Did Harper do it, or did Cole just turn this into a macho grudge match? B+