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Length:1 Hour 52 Minutes
Cast:Peter Weir, Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Josef Sommer

Continuing his ongoing fascination with outsiders and marginalized cultures, Australian director Peter Weir made a successful transition to American filmmaking with a boundary-stretching thriller. A Philadelphia detective (Harrison Ford) is forced to take refuge with an Amish family when a murder involving police corruption is witnessed by one of the community's children (Lukas Haas). While the film's opening and closing passages provide plenty of action and nail-biting suspense, the heart of the movie focuses on a touching romance between Ford, the awkward outsider, and Kelly McGillis, as an assured but lonely widow. Witness builds tension not only through its thriller plot but also by constantly playing off the natural conflict between modern society and the isolated, tradition-bound Amish. Thanks to Weir's feeling for behavior and his inspired eye for landscapes, the film is strongest in passages involving silent actions and interactions, saving the dialogue for mere exposition. Beautifully photographed, with a moral and romantic depth rarely touched on in most suspense movies, Witness is one of those rare genre films that appeals equally to both male and female audiences. Amy Robinson

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