Above Suspicion

DIGITAL REVIEW:

Theatrical, Digital and VOD 5/7/21;
Disc Street Date 5/18/21;
Lionsgate;
Drama;
$19.98 DVD, $21.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for sexual content and drug use throughout, language and some strong violence.
Stars Emilia Clarke, Jack Huston, Sophie Lowe, Austin Hébert, Karl Glusman, Chris Mulkey, Omar Miller, Kevin Dunn, Thora Birch, Johnny Knoxville.

The circumstances surrounding the first FBI agent convicted of murder are explored in Above Suspicion, a rudimentary crime thriller more interested in illicit intrigue than character study.

Emilia Clarke of “Game of Thrones” stars as Susan Smith, who begins the story with “American Beauty”-style narration informing the audience that she’s dead. The film is based on the true story of her involvement with Mark Putnam (Jack Huston), an up-and-coming FBI agent looking to take down a criminal ring in a small town in Kentucky in the late 1980s.

He recruits Susan as an informant, since her former husband (Johnny Knoxville) is one of the major drug dealers in the town. She takes the gig partly because she needs the money he pays out for tips on criminal activity, but also because she’s enamored with his clean-cut image and his seemingly perfect family life. They begin a sexual affair with ultimately tragic consequences when she can’t accept being little more than a white trash fling for him.

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The film has its moments, particularly when Clarke ramps up the sex appeal, but the details surrounding Putnam’s case and how he ends up roping Susan into it are somewhat muddled for the expediency of getting to their love affair — which is, admittedly, the film’s primary selling point.

The movie has some filmmaking pedigree behind it, having been directed by Phillip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger) and penned by Chris Gerolmo, Golden Globe nominated screenwriter of Mississippi Burning. First announced in 2016, the film has been finished since 2018 and awaiting a wide release, after a few showings in 2019.

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