Witness

1985

Action / Crime / Drama / Romance / Thriller

63
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 93% · 46 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 80% · 25K ratings
IMDb Rating 7.4/10 10 105533 105.5K

Director

Top cast

Harrison Ford as John Book
Kelly McGillis as Rachel
Viggo Mortensen as Moses Hochleitner
Lukas Haas as Samuel
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
564.46 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 52 min
Seeds 19
2.07 GB
1920*1080
English 5.1
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 52 min
Seeds 38

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ackstasis 7 / 10

"We want nothing to do with your laws"

I daresay that I would have enjoyed 'Witness (1985)' even more had it remained a conventional mystery thriller. This, perhaps, reflects rather negatively on my film-buff credentials, but the film's opening act mounted the tension so brilliantly that it was a pity to see that suspense slowly dissipate into the background. Such an appeal, however, seems quite groundless where director Peter Weir is concerned; given my previous experience with his work, both in Australian cinema (the classic war picture, 'Gallipoli (1981)') and following his move to Hollywood (the uplifting 'Dead Poet's Society (1989)'), Weir has always favoured emotion and human interaction over the raw thrill of adrenalin-charged action. Even as it stands, 'Witness' deserves to be celebrated for its strong performances, sensitive screenplay and thoughtful exploration of the contrast between the pacifism of the Amish people and the violence and corruption of 1980s mainstream America. The film was Weir's first in Hollywood, after achieving great success with the Australian productions 'Gallipoli' and 'The Year of Living Dangerously (1982).'

Following the death of her husband, a grieving Amish woman, Rachel Lapp (Kelly McGillis), takes her young son Samuel (Lukas Haas) into the city. It is Samuel's first major venture into the lifestyle shunned by his people, and he is initially awed and excited by all the fresh sights and sounds presented to him. But it doesn't take long for the reality of modern society, corrupted and poisoned by the stench of greed and violence, to rear it's ugly head – in the bathroom of a railway station, Samuel witnesses the brutal murder of a city detective, and only he can identify the men responsible. A weary cop, Det. Capt. John Book (Harrison Ford), employs the young boy's help in solving the case, and, when Samuel positively identifies a respected narcotics detective from his own department, Book begins to understand that they've stumbled into something far deeper than anybody could ever have anticipated. Now with a price on his head, Book falls into hiding with the reluctant Amish community, and both parties come to learn a thing or two about the conflicting values of their respective worlds.

Harrison Ford has rarely given a better performance. He's not an actor whom one would typically associate with having a lot of emotional range, but John Book is an intriguingly-subtle character. Note, most particularly, the scene in which Book and Rachel dance in the barn to Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World" – throughout the entire sequence, Book is continually pausing, contemplating the physical contact that is seemingly obligatory in cinematic moments such as these, and consistently deciding against it. Kelly McGillis is remarkably beautiful as the emotionally-conflicted widow, all the more because her character actively attempts to repress any lingering streaks of eroticism (and also thanks to her Amish attire, which fortunately denied her one of those horrifically-dated 1980s hairstyles – see 'Top Gun (1987)'). A crucial benefit of the film's sobering middle act, supplemented by the soft, graceful cinematography of John Seale, is that the audience gradually loses his desensitisation towards violence on film, and so the story's brutal climax is a completely jarring shock to the nerves.

Reviewed by Maziun 8 / 10

When two worlds collide

„Witness" works on 3 levels – as a thriller , drama and romance. The thriller elements of the movie appear at the beginning and the ending of the movie, while the middle of the film is basically a drama with a love story in it. It's an interesting combination and while it might not work for those who like pure thrillers or dramas it certainly worked for me. One has to remember that "Witness" is first a electrifying and poignant love story , then the thriller. A romantic thriller.

It's a movie worth watching just for the fact that is first and one of the few films to focus on Amish culture. As a kid I would laugh at their philosophy of life . The more and more I'm getting older the more I'm thinking they are right. The Amish way of life has many virtues - they have a deep faith in God , pacifism , sense of community.

"Witness" is a story about cultural clash between two completely different worlds. Both cultures are forced to come together. Each one had to search out the moralities, prejudices and actions of the other. The film is thankfully devoid of easy moralizing.

It's an interesting thing that Sylvester Stallone ("Rocky") and Jack Nicholson ("One flew over the cuckoo nest") were considered for the role of John Book . While I do believe that they would handle the role very well , I'm happy that Harrison Ford ("Raiders of the lost ark") got the part in the end. Harrison Ford gives his finest performance in "Witness" , the only one which got him an Oscar nomination. Hord walks away from his hero persona (Indiana Jones , Han Solo). His John Book isn't stereotypical cynical and strong cop. His tough enough to be convincing as a city cop , but it's more about his sense of duty and dignity. It's interesting how the film uses Ford's real-life carpenter's talent. Kelly McGillis ("Top gun") also gives a great and underrated performance , the best in her career. Her Rachel is very sensible and lonely woman , who finds soul mate in Book. Both Ford and McGillis have a wonderful chemistry together . The say much more by the things they don't say (for example the bating scene , the dance scene). The romantic plot reaches it's climax with one of the best on-screen kisses in the history of film. This brief-scene is powerful , sincere and moving. The love story here is beautiful and tragic.

Danny Glover("Lethal weapon") does a nice job as the bad guy. Who could forget Lukas Haas ("Inception") as the Amish kid. His cheerful , colorful face is something that can't go unseen. Watch out for Viggo Mortensen ("The Lord of the rings " trilogy) in his debut as an Amish.

Peter Weir gives a brilliant direction . This is a simple story wit heart . Every dramatic moment is powerful and every small scene is important. Weir isn't a action/thriller director , yet he gives us great Hitchcockian set pieces such as the scene in the toilet and the final confrontation in style of "High noon" (silo death).

The screenplay quite rightfully won the Oscar. The film's script by Earl W. Wallace, William Kelley and Pamela Wallace has become a frequent model for budding screenwriters, often used to display clear structure in a screenplay. It is a film about adults, whose lives have dignity and whose choices matter to them just like it's a story about cops.

The soundtrack by Maurice Jarre is good , but I think it would have sounded much better with real orchestra instead of synthesizer. John Searle's cinematography is gorgeous – the scene of raising the barn is cinematic lyricism.

Highly recommended. I give it 8/10.

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 9 / 10

Poignant and unexpectedly moving

One of the most underrated films of the 1980s, WITNESS is a heartfelt exploration of America's Amish community. The Amish are a Christian group who shun modern-day technology in favour of a simple life. Into their midst is thrown Harrison Ford, a tough city cop who must learn to cope with their insular society.

The thriller aspects, while wonderfully handled, come second to the film's exploration of Amish culture. Peter Weir is at his best here, directing some sublime scenes (who can forget the barn raising sequence?) and eliciting strong performances from his entire cast. Ford is fine, but it's Kelly McGillis and particularly Lukas Haas who shine as the god-fearing folk who find themselves propelled into a world of violence and the unknown.

Pretty much everything you could want from a good film.

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