A trailer for the forthcoming Defending Jacob is semi-encouraging, at least in terms of Mark Bomback‘s dialogue and the cast (Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell, Cherry Jones, Pablo Schreiber, J. K. Simmons) and the direction by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game). It’s based on a 2012 crime-drama novel by William Landay.

But the marketing slogan — “family is unconditional” — is not compelling. Some kind of evil strain has infected American culture over the last decade or two. The random shootings in schools and other public places…we can all sense that society is on some kind of permanent tilt. So right off the top a teenager accused of murder is not treated with denial or disbelief.

Plus there’s a credibility issue. If the teenage son of an assistant district attorney (Evans) is credibly accused of murder, wouldn’t the first order of business be for the assistant d.a. to recuse himself? Wouldn’t his seniors insist? Skim the novel’s plot and tell me if you want to watch this thing.

Defending Jacob begins on 4.24.20.