PRIMAL FEAR depicts a Chicago defense attorney who is concerned only with his own reputation. Martin Vail, played by Richard Gere, wants to advance his own career and seal a book deal. The defendant is alter boy Aaron Stampler, who is convicted of killing an Archbishop. When his story is broadcast all over the evening news, Vail goes to Stampler and tells him he will take his case for free. Grateful, Stampler pleads innocence, and soon everyone discovers he is not criminal, but rather insane. Thus, the judge decides Stampler needs not incarceration, but hospitalization. When Vail goes to inform Stampler of this change of events, Vail himself discovers a change that completely turns the tables on his and everyone else’s expectations.
Slow moving at first, this mediocre crime story has an exciting ending. However, PRIMAL FEAR represents another smear against the Church by portraying a despicable Archbishop with heinous secrets. This movie could have been equally effective with a villain in another line of work. Paramount Pictures has asked the press to not reveal the surprise ending of this movie, but like the nefarious CRYING GAME, it will probably soon be understood. So, if thrillers with violence and sex are your style, don’t tell anybody how this movie finishes. If you don’t like anti-Christian bigotry, avoid this mediocre movie.
(Pa, Ab, LL, VV, SS, NN, A, D, M) Anti-Christian, pagan worldview with examination of a corrupt Catholic bishop; 18 obscenities & 14 profanities; graphic but brief murder scene showing man's fingers getting cut off, images of a bloody corpse, hitting, & shoving; brief but graphic forced sex scene between three teenagers; brief female frontal nudity & brief rear male nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, blackmail