Jagged Edge (1985)

Jagged Edge (1985)

“If he didn’t do it, I’ll get him off.”

Female lawyer Teddy Barnes (Glenn Close) questions the innocence of the man (Jeff Bridges) she is defending on suspicion of murder.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Courtroom Drama
  • Jeff Bridges Films
  • Lawyers
  • Murder Mystery

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this popular ’80s courtroom thriller is “absurdly written”, “too slick”, and “manipulative”. Nonetheless, it possesses a stand-out performance by Glenn Close (smart and savvy in her tailor-made suits), and enough plot twists to keep you guessing the entire time. It’s too bad screenwriter Joe Eszterhas — best known for Showgirls (1995) and Basic Instinct (1992) — insults his audience with inane dialogue (“He had a rap sheet as long as my dick”), a distracting subplot about legal ethics, and an unrealistic, unprofessional romantic relationship between Close and Bridges — because there’s potential here for something much better.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Glenn Close’s sympathetic performance
  • Many clever plot twists

Must See?
No. This is an enjoyable courtroom thriller, but certainly not must-see viewing.


One thought on “Jagged Edge (1985)

  1. Not a must, though it is an effective courtroom thriller. It doesn’t matter whether you figure things out early or not; it’s still interesting to see how it all plays out. I hadn’t seen it in quite a while – it has held up.

    On some level, writer Eszterhas has always seemed set on giving audiences what they want (often hard-hitting, a tendency toward the lurid but, basically, storylines that won’t bore you). Overall, I happen to like his work; I like that he thought up something as gripping as ‘Music Box’ and also something as appalling as ‘Showgirls’. His output is surprisingly small.

    Actual plot aside, I like the fact that ‘JE’ is not only an exploration of a sociopath (film has not worn that out as subject matter) but it also takes on the flaws of the legal system.

    Everyone turns in solid, B-movie-esque performances. (I rather like the three women in supporting roles who are called on to testify in court.)

    In the ’80s, Close did some relatively unmannered work (my favorite among her films probably is still ‘The World According to Garp’). Around the time of ‘Dangerous Liaisons’, a certain quality began to overtake her: I started to sense ‘the wheels turning’, and her work after ‘Reversal of Fortune’ has been less memorable, in less memorable films.

    Special mention: effective score (again) by John Barry.

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