Judicial Indiscretion: A tale of courage and deceit

[float=right][img]http://www.michaelshanks-online.net/images/reviews/judicialreview_001a.gif[/img][/float][i]”You have one chance to get out of this alive—if you don’t start moving I’m going to shoot you right here, right now.” Jack Sullivan.[/i]

For ten years Michael Shanks played the part of Dr. Daniel Jackson on [i]Stargate SG-1[/i]. He was the conscience of his team, providing the heart and soul of the show, but if you think good guys are all he can do, get ready to be shocked by his character in [i]Judicial Indiscretion[/i]. In this movie he does a 180 degree turn to play Jack Sullivan, an Irish writer who starts out charming and ends up being, well, not-so-charming.

Shanks’ co-star is Academy Award nominee Anne Archer, best known for her role as Michael Douglas’ sympathetic, tortured wife, Beth Gallagher, in the 1987 thriller [i]Fatal Attraction[/i]. Archer is also well-known for playing CIA agent Jack Ryan’s beleaguered wife, Cathy, in [i]Patriot Games[/i] and [i]Clear and Present Danger[/i]. In this latest role she gives a powerful performance as Monica Barrett, a woman whose strong sense of morality has earned her a place on the short list to become the newest Supreme Court Justice. Monica is a firm believer in staying impartial while on the bench and not allowing her personal feelings to impinge on a verdict. She appears to be the perfect candidate.

[float=left][img]http://www.michaelshanks-online.net/images/reviews/judicialreview_005a.gif[/img][/float]A widow of three years, Monica plans a week in San Francisco with her daughter. It turns into a solo vacation when her daughter is called back to the office. Gradually, this work-a-holic begins to relax and let her barriers down, and starts to enjoy her free time as she goes out shopping and jogging.

It’s while she’s out shopping that she meets up with Jack Sullivan. He’s handsome and he charms her into having dinner and a drink with him… Then suddenly we see Monica, apparently drunk, stumble her way up from the table; her hotel room door is kicked open and Sullivan appears with her in his arms; he dumps her on the bed; she’s barely conscious as he begins to remove her clothing… She wakes up the next morning naked in bed, bewildered and disoriented. A phone call reveals there is no such person as Jack Sullivan staying in the hotel. Distraught, she returns home immediately.

The rest of the movie follows Monica as she struggles to accept what happened to her and put it behind her. When she becomes the number one choice for the Justice position, an in-depth search into her past begins and what happened in San Francisco comes back to haunt her. Does she admit what happened? Or not? Even though she did nothing wrong, it won’t appear that way to her detractors. Her friends convince her not to mention it and to accept the nomination. She finally does so, still concerned about the possible consequences. As it turns out, she has good reason to be afraid.

Out of the blue she receives a phone call. Jack Sullivan is back. And he wants more.

[float=left][img]http://www.michaelshanks-online.net/images/reviews/judicialreview_003a.gif[/img][/float]What follows is a suspense-filled ride as Monica Barrett attempts to find out how her life has suddenly become a horror film. Both Shanks and Archer keep us terrified for Monica and wondering what will happen next. When she picks up the phone, will he be on the other end? As she goes about her daily routine she catches glimpses of someone following her. Is it Jack Sullivan?

Someone is feeding him information about her. Who? Which of her so-called friends is the traitor? Does she continue on with the nomination process or pull out? What, if anything, does she tell the president? Does she hide the truth, or allow her personal integrity to shine through with what is happening to her?

And what, exactly, does Jack Sullivan really want from her?

Michael Shanks gives an outstanding performance as Jack Sullivan; if all you’ve ever seen him in is [i]Stargate SG-1[/i], then you’re in for a treat. He surprises us as well as Monica with Jack’s sudden but convincing switch from charm and dimples to full-on psychosis. His malevolence is all the more frightening as it’s delivered in a normal, every day tone of voice until things get out of hand at the end and the hatred breaks through.

[float=right][img]http://www.michaelshanks-online.net/images/reviews/judicialreview_004a.gif[/img][/float][i]Judicial Indiscretion[/i] was written and directed by George Mendeluk and he did a brilliant job at both. It’s difficult to write an internal struggle so an audience can see what the character is going through, but Mendeluk did just that. When you add in the talented performance by Anne Archer, her confusion as she strives to make the correct decision for both her personal integrity and her professional career, the movie shines.

An interesting movie, especially in today’s current political climate where it seems every time one turns on the news there’s another Senator admitting to falsehoods, or another committee being formed to ferret out someone’s alleged wrongdoing. Mendeluk’s script has a lot to say about the importance of truth and integrity and the movie ends with Monica Barrett speaking a quote from George Orwell: ‘In a world of universal deceit, the selling of the truth becomes a revolutionary act.’

[i]Judicial Indiscretion[/i] shows how true that is.

[i]Judicial Indiscretion[/i] airs in Canada April 7th at 2pm on the “W” Channel, and in the US on April 9th at 9pm on Lifetime.

EM Review by
Dana Jeanne Norris
04/06/2007

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