EW Staff
April 26, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Primal Fear

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
129 minutes
performer
Richard Gere, Edward Norton, Laura Linney, Frances McDormand, Maura Tierney
director
Gregory Hoblit
author
William Diehl
genre
Drama, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C+

An archbishop is murdered, and Richard Gere, as headline-grabbing attorney Martin Vail, jumps at the chance to defend the young man arrested. Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton) is a pathologically shy kid who says he’s innocent, and at first, Vail doesn’t care whether he is or not. Then he makes an emotional investment he hadn’t counted on. Gere taps into his charismatic weasel mode, but director Gregory Hoblit fills the screen with excellent TV actors and gives them nothing interesting to do. The key plot twist may leave you feeling burned. C+

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