Harrison Ford and Lukas Haas in Witness
An Amish mother (Kelly McGillis) and son Samuel (A very young Lukas Haas) were on their way to visit family in upstate Pennsylvania, stuck in a train station and waiting for a delayed one; Sam uses the bathroom only for it to be the most exciting trip he’ll ever take to one. While finishing up Sam witnesses a brutal murder and winds up being the only witness Detective John Book (Harrison Ford) will have against the murderer.
Having to cancel plans to for visiting family Sam must now identify the murderer and what should have been an opened and closed case for Book, winds up in corruption and conspiracy involving Book’s boss Schaeffer (Josef Sommer) and McFee (Danny Glover).
After trying to hide the boy at his sister Elaine’s (Patti LuPone) house Book realizes after being shot at in public by corrupt cops he must take further steps to hide the boy and thus he winds up in Amish country where the nearest pay phone is twenty minutes away.
While protecting his only material witness Book is reluctant to take on the ways of the Amish people, while healing from a gunshot wound, but he slowly starts to see the beauty of this very simple way of life and starts to show respect for it.
Strong sexual tension starts to build between Book and Rachel as she sees that he cares about what happens to her son as well as his renowned respect for the Amish culture. Other Amish men in the community take note of this and feel very threatened by Book and feel they must let him know that they haven’t missed a beat amid his very city like problem that he brought into the country. Daniel Hochleitner (Alexander Godunov) represents this attitude by awkwardly putting his arms around Rachel as if its second nature and meant to be in the first place.
Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, and Lukas Haas turn in great performances given the very simplistic script by William Kelley and Earl W. Wallace. Because anyone who has ever lived on a farm knows that there is only so much one can do let alone acting as a sole witness protection team in Ford’s case.
Maurice Jarre provides such an ominous score that one begins to question even if it exists throughout the film. Jarre’s score is strong in emotion, but is almost non-existent in many scenes featuring Ford and McGillis. However, it builds as the film progresses toward its final climax or when building tension between Book’s phone calls to the city.
Peter Weir and Director of Photograpy John Seale provide several beautiful visuals and bright exteriors of Amish country and the city alike. Which in some older Gems like this isn’t always there.
If you enjoyed other Harrison Ford movies in which he either plays a cop or Lawyer such as Presumed Innocent or Roman Polanki’s Frantic. Witness comes highly recommended and should not missed by any Harrison Ford fans. Fans of crime films will enjoy this as well, due to the fact that John Hillcoat’s Lawless and Witness share some of the same parallels.