Despite its truly terrible title, Primal Fear is yet another ho-hum courtroom drama in which Richard Gere plays a defence attorney who used to be a prosecutor (*sigh*) who is defending altar boy Edward Norton, accused of brutally murdering an archbishop. To add “spice” he is facing prosecutor Laura Linney, his ex-girlfriend (*double sigh*) who utters lines like “It was a one night stand Marty, it just lasted six months.” (*triple sigh/cringe*).
Yes, all the cliches are in effect; every courtroom scene is stuffed with the usual “You are in contempt!”/”I will not have grandstanding in my courtroom!”/”Strike the witness’ testimony from the record!” platitudes and the so-called twist is blindingly obvious the moment Norton stammers out his first line. I know that he is a good actor, but it’s hard to tell under the stuttering local yokel accent and occasional outbursts of shouting and the whole thing just gave me a serious case of deja vu.
It may be executed adequately, but there’s nothing here you won’t have seen at least a dozen times before.