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Stars: Kelvin Harrison Jr, Jennifer Hudson, John David Washington, Jennifer Ehle, Paul Ben-Victor, Tim Blake Nelson, Jeffrey Wright, Mikey Madison, Dorian Missick, Lovie Simone, Rakim Mayers, Jharrel Jerome

Director: Anthony Mandler

Rescued by Netflix after nearly four years on the shelf marked Forgotten Films, this is a sometimes absorbing drama of the theme of a defendant accused of a crime he did not commit, as exemplified by Hitchcock's The Wrong Man and countless other legal thrillers.

It's not difficult to draw us into such a theme and, despite there being some things not revealed that perhaps should have been, not too many tricks of this particular trade are missed, even if the film's various 'messages' are sometimes delivered in a ham-fisted way.

Harrison Jr is solid and sympathetic as Steve Harmon, a 17-year-old would-be filmmaker who finds himself suddenly hauled in and accused of the murder of a winery owner during a robbery.

The director tries to keep us guessing as to whether Steve is really as innocent as he claims (Monster? would perhaps be a better title), and the consequent courtroom to-and-fro is effectively bolstered by the portrayals of Harrison, Ben-Victor as the oily prosecutor who accuses Steve of being a monster, and especially Ehle in a typically strong performance as the steely counsel for the defence. There's no doubt that, thanks to its director and cast, the film's heart - and passion - is clearly in the right place, even if it lacks the dynamism of cinema's courtroom classics.

David Quinlan

USA 2017. UK Distributor: Netflix. Colour by Company 3.
98 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 10 May 2021