Harrison Ford stars in a high-stakes thriller with action, romance, and a ton of Amish people! Not quite the kind of action you’d necessarily expect, given that over half of this film is Ford learning how to live as an Amish person! That’ll definitely sell, right?
While there are some things that could be elaborated on, I’m gonna keep this post rather short. The light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter and, boy, am I running as fast as I can!
“When a young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder while visiting Philadelphia with his mother, police detective John Book tries to protect the boy until an attempt on Book’s life forces him into hiding in Amish country.” – IMDb
Actual Lazy Review
Peter Weir, the director behind this film, also did The Mosquito Coast and The Truman Show. Both of these works are pretty good, especially the latter—I even gave it a 10/10, initially. (Not sure what I’d give it now.) With this in mind, Witness was something I had been keeping my eye on for a little while. More of a thriller? I was intrigued by how he’d go about it.
The answer is that it’s not really a thriller. Mostly.
Half of Witness is Harrison Ford trying to adjust to being Amish. Fields, no technology, learning their customs and work-heavy lifestyles. Kind of funny in hindsight, but even I was drawn into it quickly. Sure, not quite as “thrilling” as police corruption and shootouts, though it was somewhat pleasant in another way.
Rather fascinating the way this is structured. A quarter is police handiwork, the typical things you’d find with investigations and twists and what have you. Then, the majority is a somewhat tensile, but easygoing pseudo-drama about life’s simplest pleasures. Dream-like, serene, and a slow burn to the climax (take that as you will). Ended up nice.
Will also mention that it can be rather boring. As neat as the Amish parts are, it’s every bit as slow as you can imagine. Some shots are good, some acting is good; doesn’t entirely help the overall when that’s pretty much all there is. Until the end, anyway.
It’s all right. Definitely research what you’re getting into, though. Not quite as much of a “thriller” as it is an… experimental project that combines a variety of things. Frenetic and easygoing, romantic but reserved. It tries to do a broad stroke of a lot of different things. I acknowledge it mostly works! Kind of. It’s all right.
Final Score: 6.5/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!
Thank you for your time. Have a great timezone.