Quick recap: In the early 1980s, Clause von Bülow was found guilty for attempted murder of his wife Sunny. It was a sensational trial and the public was quick to deem Bülow guilty before the trial even got off of the ground. The movie tells the story of the appeal process, which in itself is an adaptation of the book, ‘Reversal of Fortune’, written by Alan Dershowitz, who took the case on. Dershowitz is given the task of defending a man everyone thinks is guilty. He creates a team of top notch lawyers to dissect the previous case and come up with an appeal to get Bülow acquitted.
Fun(?) Fact: The real Sunny Bülow went into a coma in 1980 and stayed in one until she died in 2008.
My Thoughts: If there is one thing Americans love, it is all the sensational trials that get plastered over the daily news. And even more than sensational trials, Americans love to watch movies based on books based on those trials. So naturally, even though this movie is considered one of the 1001 movies to see before you die, I was expecting some glossy retelling, like you would find on Lifetime.
So, I was pleasantly surprised that the movie turned out so interesting. Being a geek about such things, I was more excited learning about the appeal process and what is needed rather than the case itself. I think that is the point of the movie: not to show that Bülow really was innocent, but to show the legal process in reality. When the process isn’t followed correctly, guilty people walk free.
Which is another thing I think set this movie apart from the others- that we are left to draw our own conclusions as to what put Sunny Bülow into a coma back in 1980. The move is narrated by Glenn Close, who plays Sunny Bülow. She tells the story as she is in a coma, which reminds me of the narration on Desperate Housewives, which was done by the main character who committed suicide. Or maybe it reminded me of that show because Felicity Huffman is in ‘Reversal of Fortune’.
Although Clause von Bülow was acquitted of all charges, he acts guilty as hell. Jeremy Irons plays him like a british zombie undertaker, which I don’t know if that’s an acting thing, but it describes the character well. He also makes inappropriate jokes about injecting his wife with insulin so that she falls into a coma. I think Dershowitz’s point in taking the case is that innocent jerks need lawyers too. The state botched the case in several ways and excluded evidence they shouldn’t have because this guy oozes guilty. I think it’s a fair reminder for all those people that sit on the couch, watching these trials and pretending to be the judge and executioner- you only see what you shown. There may be more to a story.
Final review: 4/5. For people who love Lifetime movies, I’d recommend this as a quality alternative with some meat. It’s a compelling story for anyone and it makes the rich look bad, which is always fun.
How/ Where I watched it: Netflix DVD with a bomber of the Leprechaun Strawberry Seasonal Cider. SO GOOD.
Up next: The Long Goodbye- interestingly enough, I’ve never seen the movie but John Williams did the soundtrack so I’m familiar with that aspect.
Did you know the movie “high society” was filmed at the von bulow mansion?
I did not know that! I’d check it out, but I would rather not sit through ‘High Society’ again 🙂