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A 1999 thriller starring Ashley Judd, Bruce Greenwood and Tommy Lee Jones. Directed by Bruce Beresford. The film begins with a wealthy couple going sailing with a yacht. The wife Elizabeth "Libby" Parsons (Judd) falls asleep for a while. When she awakes, her husband Nick (Greenwood) is nowhere to be found. What can be found is blood everywhere, on her body, her clothes, the boat's floors ... and on a knife placed on the deck. She has no idea what happened.
The Coast Guard soon arrests Libby for the murder of her husband. She goes on trial and is convicted. She entrusts her son Matty to a friend. During a phone conversation with his mother, Matty exclaims "Daddy" as if his father is actually with him. She starts suspecting that Nick is alive and well, faking his death and framing her for murder. A fellow prisoner advises her to wait until parole to do something about it, reminding Libby of the legal concept of double jeopardy: She can't be tried twice for the same crime.
Six years later, Libby is paroled and placed under the supervision of parole officer Travis Lehman (Jones). Her friend is dead and her son missing. She uses her time out to find Nick and Matty. Only now, two former spouses are out to kill each other. Lehman has to figure what is going on and make a stand of his own.
The film was a modest box office hit but met with mixed reviews. Part of the problem was it's blatant ripping off of that other film where someone is wrongly convicted of murder and goes on the run. The other was that the writers failed to understand what the concept of double jeopardy actually means. It only prevents someone from being put on trial for the same set of facts twice. Two separate events, the staged murder and the real one, would not constitute double jeopardy under any definition.
(In other words, though it seems odd in the specific crime of murder, it would be silly to say that being convicted of an assault that took place on January 1st should prevent you from being tried for assault on the same person that occurred on July 1st.)
Not to be confused with the second round of the game show.
The film provides examples of:
- Asshole Victim: Angie.
- Buried Alive: How Nick tries to get rid of Libby after she tracks him down.
- Car Fu: Libby uses her pickup truck to trash Lehman's car and drives over the sidewalk in order to get away from him.
- Clear My Name: Libby, regarding her husband. Not only did she not kill him, he's not even dead.
- Conveniently-Timed Attack From Behind: Nick grabs her and knocks her out (during the cemetery scene), where he had said she'd meet their son.
- Distaff Counterpart/Gender Flip: A person wrongly convicted of murder escaping from custody, determined to track down those responsible, pursued and eventually aided by an equally determined lawman played by Tommy Lee Jones? No, this isn't The Fugitive (or another sequel), but as numerous reviews pointed out, it's essentially a female version of it.
- Faking the Dead: Nick. And Lehman and Libby threaten to pull the same stunt on Nick, regarding her, if he does not turn over their son.
- Hollywood Law: Libby is framed by her husband for his own murder and serves prison time. When she gets out, she hunts him down and brags that she could kill him and get away with it because she's already been convicted of that crime and double jeopardy means she can't be prosecuted for it again. Problem is, she was convicted of that crime (that is, of "murdering" him at that specific time, in that specific place). Hunting him down to another city and killing him there, then, would be another crime entirely, and thus she could be justly convicted of it. Not to mention the host of other crimes she committed, including escape from custody, assault on law enforcement, property damage, unlicensed possession of a firearm, transporting an unlicensed weapon across state lines, assault with intent to kill, violation of her parole, and probably more. Not to mention the fact that she didn't actually kill him that first time...
- This could very well be a case of Did Not Do the Research on the part of the writers.
- Never take legal advice from someone you meet in prison.
- Even, or maybe especially, if they're an ex-lawyer disbarred for murder.
- She gets lucky, in that the circumstances in which she ultimately does kill her husband could be ruled as Self defense.
- The main problem with prosecuting her would be that the state would prosecute her for murdering someone whom they had previously proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, was dead.
- Libby could also still be tried by jury under a lesser charge, such as second-degree murder or manslaughter.
- Idiot Ball: Nick attempts to kill Libby by burying her alive in an above ground tomb, and he doesn't take away her gun, although in all fairness, he might not have remembered that she had one. Libby counts too, for trusting Nick during the whole cemetery scene. Of course, she was desperate to see her son, but still.
- Kiss Diss: As Libby publicly confronts her duplicitous husband, she turns her head as he tries to kiss her, invoking "oohs" from the observing crowd.
- Miscarriage of Justice: Libby is wrongly convicted of murdering her husband and spends several years in prison.
- Prisons Are Gymnasiums: Ashley Judd (!) may not bulk up all that much, but she Took a Level In Badass -- understandable since she's gaining skilz with which to murder the husband who framed her.
- Steel Ear Drums: Played straight to a ridiculous level. Libby fires a gun TWICE while trapped inside a sealed coffin and merely winces slightly when in real life she'd be completely deaf.
- Wrongful Accusation Insurance: As discussed above, Libby commits numerous crimes in the course of tracking down her husband, whom she's planning to kill (and DOES kill, albeit by that point, it was a genuine case of self-defense rather than a revenge killing), all of which appear to have been completely disregarded by the time the film ends.
- To be fair, in this case, it's quite possible that she might not be prosecuted given the extraordinary events involved.
- You Fail Law Forever: As pointed out by pretty much everyone, including this column http://www.worldfamouscomics.com/law/back20000201.shtml