Early this morning Collider‘s Jeff Sneider broke the news that Phillip Noyce‘s Above Suspicion, which I’ve been doing cartwheels over since I first caught it in the summer of ’17, will open via Lionsgate in mid May — select theaters and on digital/VOD platforms on Friday, 5.14, Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, 5.18.
According to the IMDB Above Suspicion‘s principal producers are Mohamed AlRafi and Tim de Graye, whose film companies are called 50 Degrees Entertainment LLC and White Knight Pictures. Despite the curious distribution strategy orchestrated by these fine fellows, there remains a commercially fertile market for what any avid cineaste would call a truly excellent film.
“There are still plenty of people who don’t torrent movies,” Sneider writes, “and [who] would be willing to pay to check out this cinematic curiosity.”
Due respect but that is an unfair and inaccurate way to describe Above Suspicion. It is, no lie, a jug of classic, grade-A moonshine — a brilliant, tautly paced, perfectly written action thriller that plays deep down like an emotional tragedy, and is boosted by an ace-level performance from Emilia Clarke.
“The Girl From Lonesome Holler,” posted on 7.24.17: “Above Suspicion, which is based on Joe Sharkey’s 1993 true-life novel, is a triple-A, tightly-wound, character-driven genre flick (i.e., rednecks, drug deals, criminals, lawmen, murder, car chases, bank robberies) of the highest and smartest order.
“Most people would define ‘redneck film’ as escapist trash in the Burt Reynolds mode, but there have been a small handful that have portrayed rural boondock types and their tough situations in ways that are top-tier and real-deal. My favorites in this realm are John Boorman‘s Deliverance, Billy Bob Thornton‘s Sling Blade, and Lamont Johnson‘s The Last American Hero.
“Noyce’s Above Suspicion is the absolute, dollars-to-donuts equal of these films, or at least a close relation with a similar straight-cards, no-bullshit attitude.”
Sneider is a savvy reporter with a good heart, but calling Noyce “an underrated director” is another off-kilter description. Noyce has been consistently proving his grade-A feature chops since the late’ 70s, and there isn’t an actor, screenwriter, agent or producer in this town who doesn’t know this.
Noyce’s theatrical highlights include the brilliant Newsfront, the classic Aussie breakouts Heatwave and Dead Calm, a hugely successful pair of Jack Ryan thrillers (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger), the notorious Sliver and a great run of variations that followed — The Saint, The Bone Collector, Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Quiet American, Catch a Fire and Salt.
“The Girl From Lonesome Holler,” posted on 7.24.17: “Noyce always delivers with clarity and discipline but this is arguably the most arresting forward-thrust action flick he’s done since Clear and Present Danger. Plus it boasts a smart, fat-free, pared-down script by Mississippi Burning‘s Chris Gerolmo, some haunting blue-tinted cinematography by Eliot Davis (Out of Sight, Twilight) and some wonderfully concise editing by Martin Nicholson.
“Above Suspicion damn sure feels like an early ’70s film. I mean that in the most complimentary way you could possibly imagine. It’s about real people, tough decisions, yokel culture, corruption, Percocets, hot car sex and lemme outta here. There’s no sense of 21st Century corporate wankery. Adults who believe in real movies made this thing, and they did so with an eye for tension and inevitable plot turns and fates dictated by character and anxiety and, this being rural Kentucky, bad karma and bad luck.”