Blast from the Past: #1 – Witness

Behold my latest innovative project. Every few weeks I shall review not necessarily a classic, but a highly recommendable film. I hope this isn’t seen as a way to belittle my subjects avid readers; think of me like Yoda, passing on my infinite limited wisdom for you to learn and be enlightened upon, except instead of me being a tiny green puppet (in the pre-blu-ray releases anyway) I am a rather bored student with limited writing capabilities.

Witness is often cited as Harrison Ford’s greatest cinematic performance and it is not difficult to see why in this detective/drama/thriller story about an unfortunate witness to a deeply layered crime. The witness is a relatively mute, 4-5 year old boy with an unfortunate haircut (not too dissimilar from Danny Torrance in The Shining – “red rum, reed rumm, reeeddd rummm”) who belongs to an Amish community.


We are presented this Amish country in the opening scenes, immediately introducing one of the film’s more important themes of the contrasts between the Amish lifestyle and a *normal* lifestyle and what problems this can induce.

After the boy thrillingly witnesses a murder in a public bathroom and just as thrillingly escapes the murderers’ grasp, man of the hour (or meagre 112 minutes) Harrison Ford as a monotonous (bar the famous and rather cringe-worthy It’s a Wonderful World scene ), dry, robust hero prone to falling in love (sound familiar Chewy or Shorty?) takes on the case.

Ford as you’ve never seen him before:

Once the boy identifies a policeman as the murderer, Ford discovers the Head of Service is involved too. A break in the thrilling suspense and action sees Ford seek refuge and convincingly adjust to life in the boy and his mother’s Amish community (set in a place called Intercourse, something which never failed to amuse me when I stayed last year).

Making time for Ford in “plain” Amish clothing and singing It’s a Wonderful World is not something you will regret. This culturally-enlightening thriller captures Harrison Ford at his emotive best as this far-from-home cop, but is Han Solo/Indiana Jones enough to satisfy his returning fans.

Star Rating: 4/5


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