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Film / Under Suspicion

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Under Suspicion is a 2000 film directed by Stephen Hopkins.

Henry Hearst (Gene Hackman) is a wealthy Anglo tax attorney living in Puerto Rico, with a smoking hot and much younger wife Chantal (Monica Bellucci). He is on his way to a fundraiser for hurricane victims one evening when the local police chief, Capt. Victor Benezet (Morgan Freeman) calls him into the office for "ten minutes" of questioning. It seems that Henry recently discovered the body of a murdered child while he was out on his morning run, and Victor wants to resolve some details about Henry's statement. However, when a tuxedo-clad Henry shows up in Victor's office, it soon becomes clear that the police think Henry did it—partially because of some inconsistencies in his statement, but also because his car was seen not long ago near the location where another child was murdered.


Thomas Jane appears as Detective Owens, the other investigating officer. This film is a remake of 1981 French film Garde à vue.

Not to be confused with a 1991 British film starring Liam Neeson.


  • Accidental Public Confession: Victor's comment about how he's bringing Chantal in to be interviewed causes Henry to burst forth with "She's lying! Whatever she said I never touched Camille!" Victor has never heard of Camille. This leads to the whole story of how Henry wound up alone in his 13-year-old niece Camille's company, arousing Chantal's suspicions.
  • Accuse the Witness: Eventually Victor drops the facade about just calling Henry in to clarify some details. He actually arrests Henry on suspicion of murder to prevent him from going to the fundraiser.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Henry is a perv, with a highly suspicious collection of photos of pubescent girls...but seeing as how he turned out to be innocent, it's quite the coincidence that he had photos of both of the girls who were murdered.
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  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: When asked what he was doing during the hours where he was unaccounted for on the night of the first murder, Henry says he was having sex with a streetwalker. He doesn't even know her name.
  • Dies Wide Open: Both of the victims were found this way. Victor eventually accuses Henry of deliberately opening their eyes after he killed them.
  • Dodgy Toupee: A Staircase Tumble that ensues when Owens stops Henry from leaving the office, results in Henry's toupee slipping off. This one is more plot-relevant than most dodgy toupees, as it's later revealed that Henry didn't wear his toupee when trolling for Streetwalkers in the slums. Victor suggests that Henry was trying to avoid being recognized.
  • Downer Ending: Not quite as grim as the original, what with Chantal being Spared by the Adaptation, but still a downer. Henry is broken in spirit, his darkest secrets having been exposed by Victor. Chantal is regretful and makes a tentative gesture of reconciliation to Henry, but he ignores her and his marriage is irretrievably broken. Victor for his part is left to consider how he very nearly put an innocent man in jail for two murders.
  • Exiled to the Couch: It's revealed that Chantal and Henry have been sleeping in separate rooms for two years, after Chantal saw Henry in a rather suspicious moment with Chantal's 13-year-old niece Camille.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: A few hours over an afternoon and evening. In fact, after the opening scenes, it is mostly Real Time after Henry arrives at Victor's office. However there are some brief time skips around the sequence where Henry temporarily leaves police headquarters to give his speech at the fundraiser.
  • False Confession: Henry, broken in spirit after he finds out that Chantal helped the cops find the incriminating photos, starts confessing to the murder of the girls. He is still confessing when the cops find out that he didn't do it. They caught another man red-handed with the fresh corpse of a third victim, and not only that, they found pictures of the bodies of the first two victims in the other man's car.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Victor is calm, pleasant, and polite while methodically poking holes in Henry's stories, while his young partner Det. Owens is a hothead who is openly scornful of Henry and makes violent threats. Interestingly this is not a planned Good Cop, Bad Cop; outside of Henry's presence Victor tells Owens to dial it down and says that Owens being overtly confrontational is putting Henry on the defensive.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Henry uses this exact phrase. He claims that people like Victor are jealous of him for having a hot Trophy Wife. He himself is jealous of his brother-in-law Paco's possible attraction for Chantal. And it's eventually revealed that Chantal is jealous of...her 13-year-old niece Camille.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Detective Owens is quite a bit younger than either Henry or Vincent. Henry insists on calling him "Sgt. Opie."
  • Ms. Fanservice: Chantal, played by Monica Bellucci, is first seen putting on a dress that gives not only a brief shot of the top of her butt from behind but also a glimpse of her nipple from the front.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: This trope plays out how it usually does, with Victor being the wise old homicide guru and his young partner Owens being the hothead that Victor has to rein in.
  • Overly-Nervous Flop Sweat: Losing his Dodgy Toupee facilitates Henry nervously sponging the sweat off his bald pate, as Victor's questioning closes in on him.
  • Pædo Hunt: Victor and Owens come to believe that Henry is one of these as they zero in on him as their murder suspect. How much he is one is left an Ambiguous Situation. He has photos of both of the murder victims as well as other pubescent girls in the neighborhood—but they're all chaste. He apparently engaged in Wife Husbandry with Chantal, he visits "barely legal" porn websites, and he makes unsettling comments about how younger women are better because they have tight bodies. But there's never any confirmation that he has actually abused a minor, and mitigating against this is how he obviously strongly desires his wife, who is very maturely curvaceous and in-story is supposed to be in her late 20s. (Monica Bellucci was actually 36.)
  • Pensieve Flashback: Only symbolically, but this is how most of the flashbacks are done on the screen. As Henry gives his versions of events to Victor, the flashbacks are shown with the two of them together in the scene. For example, Henry's story of finding the body of the second victim is illustrated by a flashback in which both Henry and Victor are there, at the scene, as Henry discovers the body.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: With regards to Chantal's and Henry's accounts of her catching him with her niece, the incident that led Chantal to stop having sex with Henry. When Chantal recounts it, the closeness between Henry and Camille was suspicious and the knowing smile that 13-year-old Camille gave her aunt was highly incriminating. When Henry recounts it later, the incident is entirely innocuous, with Camille on a sugar high and showing him the Christmas presents she got.
  • Sexless Marriage: Chantal hasn't had sex with Henry for two years, after catching him in what she believed was a suspicious moment with her 13-year-old niece.
  • Single Tear: Seen from Chantal in a moment of agitation as Victor, on the other side of a one-way glass window, is accusing Henry.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the 1981 film, the wife actually does kill herself after her husband is revealed to be innocent. In this movie Chantal clearly considers throwing herself off a high wall, but changes her mind.
  • Spiteful Spit: Chantal spits on the glass of the interview room as Henry, on the other side of the one-way glass, confesses to murdering the girls.
  • Staggered Zoom: A three-shot staggered zoom into a tight closeup of Henry's eyes as he starts recapping his story of how he found the body of the second girl.
  • Streetwalker: Victor expresses befuddlement at Henry's preference for streetwalkers when he's rich enough to have his pick of High Class Call Girls. Henry answers that cheap, trashy street whores are the exact opposite of his fancy high-class wife, so that's why he likes them.
  • Table Space: As the festival of San Sebastián is going on at the end, Chantal finds Henry in the middle of the crowd. She makes a gesture as if she wants to embrace, but he walks right past her and sits on a park bench. She sits on the neighboring park bench, with a trash can between them, each alone.
  • Trophy Wife: Henry is 57 and balding but also very wealthy. Chantal is insanely gorgeous and less than half his age.
  • Wife Husbandry: It's eventually revealed that Chantal was the daughter of Henry's law partner and that they met when she was 11. After Chantal's father died when she was 14 Henry apparently became her unofficial ward and started taking a more active role in her life...and sometime after she graduated from high school they got married. Victor accuses Henry of grooming Chantal, and this is implied to be why Chantal was so highly suspicious of Henry's encounter with Camille.
  • Zip Me Up: At the beginning of the film Henry sees his fantastically gorgeous wife shimmering into a dress, and he comes in to help zip it up. It's a sexually charged moment that is subverted later when it's revealed that the Hearsts are in a Sexless Marriage.