An edge-of-the-seat cat and mouse chase
An action thriller unlike any in recent times
Directed by Andrew Davis
Screenplay by Jeb Stuart and David Twohy
Starring Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward, Joe Pantoliano
Streaming on HBO Max
When the movie opens with a beautiful night skyline view of Chicago, there is nothing suggestive of a gruesome murder. However, the background music sets the tone for the film, and the flashbacks in black and white show the murder of a woman without revealing the identity of the killer.
Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford), a vascular surgeon in Chicago Memorial Hospital, comes home to find his wife Helen Kimble (Sela Ward) fatally injured at the hands of a one-armed murderer. Richard engages in a fight with him, but the murderer flees. Richard is then interrogated, but the police are too quick to dismiss his story. Unfortunately, the circumstantial evidence is against Richard, and he is wrongfully sentenced to death for his wife’s murder.
While Richard is being transported to the death row in a bus, other prisoners try to escape, which results in a series of events leading to the bus crashing down a ravine and Richard’s eventual escape. The rest of the movie, as the name suggests, is the story of the fugitive, Richard, who is on the run and tailed in hot pursuit by the Senior Deputy U.S. Marshal, Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones), and his team.
We see Richard as someone who initially just wants to escape from the law in an opportune moment, but then becomes determined to find his wife’s murderer before he gets caught. Samuel Gerard comes off as a tenacious officer who will not rest until he has caught Richard, and he and his team go to great lengths for the same. The first face-off between Richard and Samuel reveals the different perspectives of the fugitive and the officer. Richard wants to flee from the law in order to get justice for his dead wife, whereas Samuel does not care about finding the truth; he wants Richard to abide by the law.
The 130-minute movie has a very gripping screenplay and leaves you with no time to linger on any one particular scene. The chase sequences which are engaging and exceptionally choreographed get you praying to the Lord Almighty that Richard will not be caught, and luckily for us, Richard is always one step ahead of the U.S. Marshal team that tracks him!
One thing that remains unresolved at the end of the movie is why Helen was killed in the first place. When Richard finds out who was behind his wife’s murder and questions that person as to why Helen was killed, he receives no reply, and we are left wondering about possible reasons why she was murdered. I felt a little frustrated that it was not revealed in the movie, but I think the major focus of the film was the struggle of a man determined to dig out the real culprits behind the murder of his wife rather than why his wife was murdered in the first place.
The movie captures breathtaking views of Chicago, where most of the movie takes place. It features several important landmarks such as the Chicago City Hall, the Picasso, and the Cook County Hospital. If you have been to Chicago, you are sure to say “I’ve walked on that street” or “I’ve seen that place!” We also get a glimpse of Chicago’s festive St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and the Chicago River, which is dyed bright green.
You know that the movie has two actors who are powerhouses of talent when the opening credits are in the order: Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, followed by the title of the movie, The Fugitive. At no point in the movie does one see the actor Harrison Ford; instead, we get involved and empathize with Richard right from the beginning. The fact that Tommy Lee Jones won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in this movie speaks volumes about how natural he was in his role. Everyone else does a great job as well in their supporting roles.
Overall, the story of a wrongfully accused man who is on the run and determined to find the killer of his wife while being hunted by a relentless U.S. Marshal is sure to get your heart racing and adrenaline pumping.