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Film / Just Cause

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A 1995 crime thriller adapted from the novel by John Katzenbach, directed by Arne Glimcher and starring Sean Connery, with a supporting cast including Laurence Fishburne, Kate Capshaw, Blair Underwood, Ruby Dee, and Ed Harris.

Harvard professor Paul Armstrong (Connery) is lured back into the courtroom after 25 years to take the case of a young black man condemned to death for the horrific murder of a child.

Not to be confused with the better-known video game series, or with early-2000s Canadian TV series.


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Tropes:

  • Even Evil Has Standards: Bobby Ferguson was castrated in jail by the other inmates for the rape of a young woman. Subverted as Bobby was eventually proven innocent in that crime.
  • False Confession: Blair Sullivan claims credits for Bobby Ferguson's crime.
  • Groin Attack: Bobby Ferguson was castrated in jail.
  • Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook: Bobby Earl Ferguson, when his reasons for his entire conspiracy plot are brought to light: he was an intelligent and charming young student at Cornell with a bright future, who was accused of kidnapping and rape. While he eventually was proven innocent in this case and all charges were dropped, prior to this, the case's young prosecutor, Armstrong's wife Laurie, had him remanded without bail in order to make a name for herself, even though he had no prior record. While in jail, the other inmates, not knowing all the facts in the case, assaulted Bobby, beating him to an inch of his life, and castrating him. In addition, despite being cleared, the arrest and accusations caused Cornell to revoke Bobby's scholarship and expel him. Traumatized, mutilated, and with all his hopes of having a family, or at least a decent future now destroyed, Bobby developed a deep grudge against Laurie and plotted a dark vengeance against her: first, by committing a crime so heinous that the state would have no choice but to give him the death penalty (by actually raping and murdering a child), then manipulating the investigating officers into beating a confession out of him, then teaming up with an equally condemned serial killer into getting his conviction overturned, and then exacting revenge on Laurie by killing her and her daughter, before disappearing forever.
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  • Miscarriage of Justice: Bobby Earl Ferguson was accused of rape, and only got out after he had been driven mad from the torture, scandal, and castration his fellow inmates inflicted upon him. He decided to rape and murder a random girl in a crazy plot to get himself arrested and later exonerated so when he got out and then immediately murdered the prosecutor who pushed the first case, everyone involved would be guilty of letting a real criminal go free to commit more murders. He manages to utterly succeed at the first and second parts.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Bobby Earl is convicted on false evidence, a confession extracted through torture and prejudice. He's still guilty.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Blair Sullivan has Bobby Ferguson kill his parents, in return for taking credit for the crime Bobby Ferguson commited.
  • Tragic Villain: Bobby Earl Ferguson (see Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook to see why).
  • Would Hurt a Child: Bobby Ferguson committed the murder of a young girl, and when let out tries to kill the young daughter of the law professor who helped him out of jail and his wife who prosecuted him.


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