A Murder of Crows (Cuba Gooding Jr) proves what we all know: Plagiarism is bad!

Jun 22, 2008 (Updated Nov 19, 2008)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Interesting premise with decent performances.

Cons:Way too predictable, with a few logic flaws.

The Bottom Line: It contains a pretty good premise, and could have been a very exciting movie. But its flaws bring it down.

A Murder of Crows has a decent premise, and is an entertaining movie. But the experience can be ruined if you dwell too much on the flaws.

Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Lawson Russell, a defense lawyer who suddenly grows a conscience. Sick of defending guilty clients, and knowing he's about to win a big case and set a murderer free, Russell decides to blow the case, and gets himself disbarred.

Retiring to Key West, he decides to write a novel, but discovers it's not so easy. In fact he's been stuck on page 6. One day he meets an old man who has just finished a novel of his own. The man gives the manuscript to Russell to look over, then drops dead the next day.

So Russell claims the manuscript is his own, and gets the book published. It's an overnight success. The problem? The novel is about five murders. But Russell had no idea the murders were real, and unsolved. And now he's just published a novel that describes those murders perfectly, down to every last detail. Russell's just been framed as a serial killer.

The rest of the movie is spent with Russell escaping from the authorities and trying to prove his innocence.

Sounds exciting, doesn't it? Like I said, the premise is pretty good. It's just that the movie has some problems.

One problem is that the things that were supposed to be big surprises weren't surprises to me, at all. I guessed every single one of them. And not because I'm such a smart and savvy movie-watcher; I simply paid attention. The clues were not subtle, they were in your face.

Then there were silly things, like the fact that Russell's face is very well known. He's the author of a huge best seller, and now he's the main suspect in a series of serial killings, and an escaped fugitive! Yet, he walks around the streets in his hometown without any disguise at all. I kept yelling at him, "BUY A HAT!!!" I mean, really, couldn't he take 5 minutes to buy just the smallest of disguises? But no, he walks around with no disguise at all, then seems annoyed when the police keep recognizing him and giving chase.

On the other hand, he manages to escape the police time and time again. Another problem I have with this movie. His ability to outrun every policeman that chases him was just ridiculous.

And, finally, I think Russell forgot that he's a top notch defense lawyer! Why does he run (thus making himself look guilty) instead of doing what a defense lawyer does - build a defense for himself. He's being accused of five murders... doesn't he think he can probably find an alibi for at least one of them? I would think that he would find out the dates and times for the murders, then check his calendar. He was probably in court (thus an air tight alibi) for at least one of them. But he doesn't even try to defend himself - he simply runs. That made no sense at all.

At least there are decent performances. Cuba Gooding, Jr. does a good job carrying this movie. We also have Tom Berenger as the detective on the case, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste in a small, but important role, as the one person who supports Russell.

Basically, this is an enjoyable movie if you overlook the silly flaws.

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