Primal Fear (1996)
October 3, 2022 9:12 AM - Subscribe

Defense attorney Martin Vail (Richard Gere) takes on jobs for money and prestige rather than any sense of the greater good. His latest case involves an altar boy (Edward Norton), accused of brutally murdering the archbishop of Chicago. Vail finds himself up against his ex-pupil and ex-lover (Laura Linney), but as the case progresses and the Church's dark secrets are revealed, Vail finds that what appeared a simple case takes on a darker, more dangerous aspect.

Also starring John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, Terry O'Quinn, and Andre Braugher.

Directed by Gregory Hoblit. Screenplay by Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman, based on the novel by William Diehl.

77% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Showtime and Hoopla, as well as free with ads on Pluto TV. Also available for digital rental on multiple outlets. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (3 comments total)
I've never seen Primal Fear from start to finish and I've never felt the need to. Edward Norton's performance during the denouement is the movie for me.
posted by Stuka at 12:42 PM on October 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Saw this in the theaters. I thought this was overrated. I was possibly influenced by a friend who raved about at and the "twist" before I saw it.

Didn't hate it, but I ended up feeling it was very artificial. It was well crafted, sure, but seemed mostly designed to get people to say how well crafted it was, including Norton's character and his three personalities. How more actorly a script can you get?
posted by mark k at 1:03 PM on October 3, 2022

I watched this ten or so years ago, having been spoilered on it, and I don’t know if I would have been more impressed with Norton’s performance had I gone in cold.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 7:30 PM on October 3, 2022

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