The Fugitive (1993)

Director:  Andrew Davis
Cast:  Harrison FordTommy Lee JonesSela Ward, Julianne Moore
Plot:  Dr. Richard Kimble, unjustly accused of killing his wife, must find the real one-armed killer while avoiding Marshal Sam Gerard.

Genre:  Crime / Drama / Thriller
Awards:  Won 1 Oscar - Best Supporting Actor.  Nom. for 6 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound Editing, Best Original Score.
Runtime:  130min
Rating:  PG for some images of destruction, and violence.

This clever Harrison Ford action vehicle did the impossible by getting itself nominated for seven Oscars in 1993, winning one for best supporting actor in Tommy Lee Jones. In a year dominated by Steven Spielberg whose films, Schindler's List and Jurassic Park, grabbed most of the honors, it was an incredible feat. The Fugitive is a slick, I-dunno-what's-gonna-happen-next thriller. Ford and Jones give adept displays with the latter producing a masterful performance (though I strongly feel the Oscar should have been given to Ralph Fiennes for Schindler's List).

The screenplay is a tightrope, setting a premise that baffles viewers. Dr Kimble (Ford) is wrongly accused of murdering his wife. He escapes and is ruthlessly tailed by Marshal Gerard (Jones) who doesn't care for anything other than getting his man. Dr Kimble needs to prove his innocence by catching the real murderer. And it all sets up to a suspenseful climax. There are few action set pieces, though there's one brilliantly-executed train crash sequence (no CGI or trick photography) inside fifteen minutes. For most parts, The Fugitive is driven by mystery and hide-and-seek.

The pacing is ordinary, though it's consistent throughout. Director Andrew Davis gives a good account of himself, setting the framework for a solid, exciting film that works the senses. It's intriguing to see how the plot develops, as the characters find themselves outwitting each other by playing mental and physical games. The Fugitive is a Hollywood classic in the opinion of most critics. But I choose to see it as an atypical action thriller with enough intellectual thrills to last repeated viewings.

GRADE: B (7.5/10 or 3.5 stars)

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