It’s not often that Morgan Freeman’s name is synonymous with the word “flop” but that is certainly the case for Under Suspicion, which came out in 2000. The movie is based on a French film from the 1980s titled, Garde à Vue, and a 1970s British novel called Brainwashed. The film was initially a selection for the Cannes Film Festival in May of 2000. It would go on to be released in select theaters after that in September of 2000. The film stars Freeman, Gene Hackman, Thomas Janes, and Monica Belucci among many others. Although it is deemed a flop by every standard, the film is currently taking off on Netflix and is #9 in the top ten most-watched titles. That could mean that critics and audiences in 2000 were a bit too harsh.
The initial plot of the Morgan Freeman film might be one of the biggest reasons for not garnering enough attention, or rather, turning people off. Gene Hackman plays a rich tax attorney who is accused of raping and murdering a young girl, which is followed up by another girl being murdered just days later. Through the questioning by detectives Morgan Freeman and Thomas Jane, they find Hackman’s character to be consistently changing up his story.
Even his young wife, Monica Belluci, is convinced that her husband is responsible for killing these young girls, as she has found plenty of evidence on his computer of barely legal-aged girls. Hearst (Gene Hackman) admits to liking younger women but claims he is not responsible for the grisly murders. Though he is arrested for the murders, Hackman’s character is let go when the real killer is “caught in the act.” He leaves his wife and disappears into the crowd after he can’t believe she would think him responsible for such harrowing crimes. While Morgan Freeman’s Captain Victor Benezet is there and investigating the crimes, Gene Hackman is set up as the main character, and he may not have been an easy one for audiences to get behind.
Under Suspicion currently holds a 49% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with an audience rating also at 49%. Typically, even though critics don’t agree with a certain film, they often are outnumbered by the massive amount of fans agreeing that certain films are not as bad as the critics say they are. That is certainly not the case for Under Suspicion.
Most of the critics praise the performances from both Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman but claim that the pacing of the film is hard to get through and the ending is incredibly disappointing. That certainly sounds like the case for a man who has just been acquitted of a double homicide to casually walk into a crowd without speaking his peace or reacting in a more angered way.
Oddly enough, this is not Morgan Freeman’s worst-rated film, though it is near the bottom of his illustrious career. Fans will just have to watch the film on Netflix to determine if it is truly worth the box office flop title. The ratings on Rotten Tomatoes are usually accurate when it comes to how audiences feel about the film, and they are sadly almost equal in relation to both how the critics and audiences view this one.
Usually, a film is considered a flop when the box office numbers are the ones that suffer. That was certainly the case for this Morgan Freeman movie. The film held a $25 million dollar budget and grossed a poor $1.38 million dollar take worldwide. Those are awful numbers. It only made $334,000 in the US. I wonder if Morgan Freeman even speaks about this one.
Even though audiences and critics both seemed to generally not like Under Suspicion, the film now streaming on Netflix was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. The Edgar Award is a yearly award given by the MWA and modeled after thriller and mystery writer Edgar Allen Poe. Although the Edgar Award isn’t something that is world-renowned, it appears as if the film was still regarded as being good enough to be nominated for its writing. Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman are legends and definitely no one to scoff at, so it’s up to fans to see for themselves and possibly agree with the MWA. Under Suspicion is currently streaming on Netflix in the USA.