Under Suspicion

1991, R, 99 min. Directed by Simon Moore. Starring Liam Neeson, Laura San Giacomo, Kenneth Cranham.

REVIEWED By Kathleen Maher, Fri., July 31, 1992

This English film calls itself film noir but the filmmakers seem to have missed some of the basics. Oh, it starts out alright. It's set in Brighton in the Fifties when the laws were so strict that unhappy husbands arranged to get caught in “adulterous” situations to more easily get a divorce. The sad-eyed Neeson plays a sleazy private detective, an ex-cop, who arranges illegal set-ups using his wife. But one weekend everything goes terribly wrong when he bursts into the room, camera held high to catch the guilty couple and instead, photographs a gory death scene starring his wife and his client, a famous painter. Neeson's sordid past is well known to the police: caught in flagrante delicto by a cuckolded husband, Neeson caused the death of another cop and wound up marrying the woman in question. Now that woman from the past is dead and the cops have their sitting duck. Up to here, I really have little quarrel with Under Suspicion's claim to noir status. It's just that as Neeson is arrested for the murder of his wife and the artist and as he begins his own investigation which leads him under the sheets with the painter's mistress San Giacomo, so many twists and turns crop up as to make the concept of who done it completely ludicrous. What we want is a nice taut thriller, but what we've veered into is something much more reminiscent of a drawing room mystery, the very thing noir is a reaction against. By the end of the film we've descended so far into utter goofiness, that even Neeson and San Giacomo seem confused. I swear to god that there is a scene in which one character whispers the explanation for it all into the ear of the other. Has to, it's just too damn nuts to say out loud with a straight face.

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More Liam Neeson Films
The Marksman
Liam Neeson is the action man again in this border thriller

Marc Savlov, Jan. 15, 2021

Honest Thief
Liam Neeson punches his way out of a ridiculous situation

Oct. 16, 2020

More by Kathleen Maher
Incident at Oglala
British filmmaker Apted makes a carefully reasoned, yet passionate statement about the legal system that has ensnared American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier.

July 10, 1992

Titicut Follies
Wiseman filmed conditions in the Bridgeport Mental Hospital with a bare minimum of crew and equipment, which resulted in a devastatingly candid view of life behind the high walls of a state mental hospital for the criminally insane.

July 10, 1992


Under Suspicion, Simon Moore, Liam Neeson, Laura San Giacomo, Kenneth Cranham

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