Above Suspicion might have solid actors in the lead leads of Clarke and Huston, but it feels more like a lifetime thriller than a devastating true story.

History is full of fascinating true stories waiting to be told. Movies often provide an opportunity to illuminate these relatively unknown, but nonetheless compelling tales. However, this means that filmmakers have a duty to provide them with the best possible showcase. In the case of Phillip Noyce Out of suspicion, the story of the first FBI agent to be convicted of murder sounds a lot less compelling than it should. The film, starring Emilia Clarke and Jack Huston as the central tragic couple, finally made its American debut this weekend after being released internationally for the past two years. It’s based on Joe Sharkey’s novel of the same name, and one has to wonder if that book did a better job of telling this intriguing plot of love, betrayal, and murder. Out of suspicion It may have solid actors in the leads Clarke and Huston, but it feels more like a lifetime thriller than a devastating true story.

On Suspicion is located in the Appalachian town of Pikeville, Kentucky, home of the addict Susan Smith (Clarke). Caught living with her abusive ex (Johnny Knoxville), Susan’s life takes a drastic turn when she meets up-and-coming FBI agent Mark Putnam (Huston), an ambitious man with eyes on the future. Mark is eager to catch a bank robber who has thus far evaded the authorities, and soon convinces Susan to act as an informant for him. Their professional association is fruitful, although it is not long before they are tempted and go to bed together. As Susan becomes more attached to Mark, he seeks to move on with his sweet wife Kathy (Sophie Lowe). Needless to say, Susan is not willing to let it go so easily.

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Emilia Clarke above suspicion

Emilia Clarke above suspicion

On the surface, the true story of Mark Putnam and Susan Smith is compelling, and screenwriter Chris Gerolmo’s decision to frame Out of suspicion from Susan’s point of view it looks promising. However, problems with the script crop up early on, with Clarke delivering unnecessary storytelling that is riddled with cliches. Every now and then Gerolmo finds a hint of something insightful, but he’s too caught up in stereotypes to really dig it up for something worthwhile. Susan and Mark fit into archetypes that have been seen too many times in the movies: the “crazy” woman who was done wrong (so as not to draw a parallel between Clarke’s role in game of Thrones) and the good boy who is not as clean as one might think. It goes Out of suspicion feel less like something that actually happened and more like a generic crime thriller.

At a technical level, Out of suspicion makes several decisions that contribute little to it; in fact, they are often more confusing than anything. With dialogue that resembles more of a whisper than clear speech and a washed-out color palette, it’s clear Noyce is trying to evoke a harsh style. In a way, it does. But he also leaves Out of suspicion It seems cheaper than it probably should. Rather than trying to find a unique way to tell these kinds of stories, Noyce relies on tricks that have already been done in much better movies. The cinematography, courtesy of Elliot Davis, is made up of numerous angles and close-ups that may appear artistic, but ultimately add nothing to the overall effect.

Jack Huston and Emilia Clarke above suspicion

Jack Huston and Emilia Clarke above suspicion

The cast goes to great lengths to carry the lukewarm material, with Clarke rising to the occasion. The Kentucky accent aside, Clarke reminds viewers that she managed to get through the final season of game of Thrones with excellent performance. Huston is a good scene partner, although both he and Clarke are hampered by a lack of actual material to work with. His characters have shallow depth, so his performances can only go so far. In terms of standouts among the supporting cast, few really make an impression, though Lowe wins sympathy as Mark’s wife, who has a dark past of her own but puts it all aside to have the perfect life. He’s almost a more intriguing character than Mark, which says a lot when you remember that it’s about how he was led to murder.

Out of suspicion It should have been primed for success – it has Clarke in the title role, a riveting story, and a solidly interesting point of view through Susan’s eyes. Unfortunately, he never manages to get past the clichés and generic stylistic glimpses that bog him down. True crime buffs might find something here, but you’d better read the novel it’s based on. The Susan Smith story deserved to be told, but there had to be a better way to do it.

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Out of suspicion it is now showing in theaters and is available on VOD. It is 104 minutes long and has an R rating for sexual content and drug use at all times, language, and some strong violence.

Let us know what you think of the movie in the comments!

Our rating:

1.5 out of 5 (poor, some good parts)

  • Above Suspicion (2021)Release Date: May 14, 2021

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