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Monday, July 5, 2010

Witness (released in 1985) - Starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis, protecting a young witness

A thriller directed by Peter Weir starring Harrison Ford, Kelly Macgillis and Lukas Haas, it was released in 1985 to critical and box office acclaim.
The plot involves a young Amish widow Rachel Lapp who is taking her son Samuel for a trip to Baltimore to see the outside world. Samuel in the rest room witness a murder of a police officer Zenovich. Samuel sees only one of the murderers who happens to be a tall black man. Rachel and Samuel are taken by the police as witnesses and are introduced to captain John Book and Sergeant Carter. Samuel as the principal witness has to identify the killer and fails to find the right man in the police line-up. As he saunters around in the police head quarters he sees a newspaper clipping of a police officer Mcfee and recognizes him as the killer.
Book reports this development to his superior, Captain Paul Schaffer and is asked to investigate further. He informs Book, that Mcfee had raided a drug hideout and did not report his findings. Zenovich was killed for investigating Mcfee's drug offenses. Schaffer advices Book to keep the report a secret, till they can find some clinching evidence.

Book escorts Rachel and Samuel to a safe hotel where they are ambushed by Mcfee. Book shoots Mcfee and realizes that Schaffer would be the traitor. Book seriously wounded decides to go in to hiding with the Lapps. He calls up Carter and asks him to remove all the files relating to the Lapp's and his investigations. Book informs Rachel about the situation and escorts them to their home in Lancaster city.
A severely wounded Book, tries to leave the Amish colony after he ha safely escorted the Lapps. But he faints having lost a lot of blood and Rachel's father in-law reluctantly agrees to keep him there. As he recovers he helps Eli, Rachel's father-in-law around the house doing small carpentry and other odd jobs. He finds it difficult to adjust to the Amish way of life, but soon it grows on him. He takes Samuel under his wing and bond starts to develop between them.
Various culture clashes happens as Book adjusts himself to the Amish way. He is forced to surrender his fire arm as the Amish believe in non violence. He does the community jobs like building towers for residents and Samuel helps him to work the machines like a silo. Book enjoys his life with the Amish and also develops a soft corner for Rachel. He also fights others who mock the Amish. Rachel and Book are attracted to each other to the discomfiture of her suiter Hockleitner. Eli and other residents also disapprove of this alliance.
Book in the mean time telephones Carter for information and the villains kill him. Realizing that the game has gone too far, he calls up Schaffer and challenges him. Soon Schaffer and Co reach Lancaster and both Mcfee and Fergie are killed. Schaffer holds Rachel hostage, but the arrival of all residents, make him realize that his game is up. Book arrests and hands him to the Sheriff. But he also comes to the understanding that he cannot be part of the Amish for ever, and returns to the world with his love for Rachel.
Witness was a box office winner and was also nominated for 8 academy awards wining two for the best screen play and editing. It was also a toast at the BAFTA Awards. A good simple movie.

Witness (released in 1985) - Starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis, protecting a young witness

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