Double Jeopardy


Directed by: Bruce Beresford
Written by:David Weisberg, Douglas Cook
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd, Bruce Greenwood, Annabeth Gish
Released: January 6, 2000
Grade: C

You would go a long way to find a worse script than that offered by Double Jeopardy.  Some studio executive obviously came up with the idea about basing a movie around the concept of “double jeopardy” and paying a bunch of guys to come up with a script that has clearly gone through several rewrites.  For those unfamiliar with the concept of double jeopardy, it revolves around the 5th amendment of the U.S. Constitution - a person cannot be tried and convicted of the same crime twice.  

Libby Parsons (Judd) is a happily married mother with a five-year-old son.  After a “passionate” night with her husband Nick (Greenwood) on their yacht, she wakes up to find the yacht covered in blood, and her husband missing.

Convicted of his death, she spends six years behind bars but whilst in “prison”, she discovers her husband is still alive - he has set her up and run off with her best friend.  Upon release Libby is determined to track him down and make up for her lost time.  Unknowing of the full plight is Libby’s parole officer (Tommy Lee Jones), who comes after her when she breaks parole to take her back under police custody.

As Libby says to Nick upon finding him, “I can shoot you in the middle of Mardi Gras and they can’t touch me”.  I suppose you wonder why I mention this line from the final 10 minutes of the film - doesn’t it spoil the ending?  Well it sure does, but don’t blame me.  This line and several others from the final scenes appear in both the trailer and TV advertisements.  Just another in a long line of movies spoilt by idiotically revealing clips.

If any of this sounds mildly interesting then I am misleading you.  Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones are mildly entertaining in their roles and Australian director Bruce Beresford serves up a fair effort to help build the tension but what an appalling script the screenwriters dished up.  The film is nothing more than a bunch of very unlikely coincidences combined with gross incompetence from the police.  How the hell was she convicted in the first place if he’s still alive - where did all the blood come from (anyone ever heard of DNA testing?).  It is the worst example one can find of a “popcorn movie”.  Designed to give audiences the thrill that one can kill another and get away with it, it’s merely cheap, trashy entertainment and nothing else can be taken away from it.

I could go on picking the holes and analysing the flaws but honestly, that would be wasting time on a film that frankly doesn’t deserve it.