Reversible Errors

Reversible Errors (DVD Cover)

Cast: Arthur Raven (William H. Macy), Gillian Sullivan (Felicity Huffman), Larry Starczek (Tom Selleck), Muriel Wynn (Monica Potter), Erno Erdai (James Rebhorn), Collins Farwell (Shemar Moore), Romeo "Squirrel" Gandolf (Glenn Plummer)

Director: Mike Robe

Original air date(s): 05/23/2004
DVD Date: 10/12/2004

Rating: TV-14
Running Time: 173 minutes

Note(s): Screenplay by Alan Sharp, adapted from the novel Reversible Errors by Scott Turow.

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Reversible Errors

Review: I stumbled across this made-for-television adaptation Scott Turow's legal whodunit-style mystery and am glad I did. It's not perfect by any means it's far too long, for starters but it is entertaining and benefits from strong source material.

The story opens with seasoned police detective Larry Starczek and rookie district attorney Muriel Wynn investigating a shooting in a bar. Several people are dead, including the bar's owner and a patron, who appears to have been sexually assaulted after death. Starczek is quick to arrest a local drug dealer, Romeo "Squirrel" Gandolf, who confesses to the crime, making Wynn's prosecution a slam-dunk. Fast forward to the present 2003, in this case and Squirrel is about to be executed. Attorney Raven is assigned to represent Squirrel in his last appeal. Squirrel has never recanted his admission of guilt, but insists that he did not assault the dead woman. Raven doesn't understand why Squirrel would admit to one crime but not the other, especially since he has nothing to gain by doing so. Raven suspects that someone else must have been involved and sets out to determine who, all the while hoping that it clears his client in the process.

The whodunit plot is the best element of this telemovie. I haven't read Turow's book, but I'm guessing this is a fairly faithful adaptation. That has its pluses and minues. On the negative side, most novels tend to wander a bit at times; some of the undoubtedly tangential narrative could readily have been abridged or even eliminated entirely in the screenplay. On the positive side, there are plenty of twists and turns to keep one's attention and it seems most of these were included here.

The performances are good, adequate to the task at hand but hardly memorable. There is a generic movie-of-the-week quality to the production, again just adequate enough to tell the story but nothing particularly special. In a way, that's probably good, since not much gets in the way of the plot, which is really the only reason to see this movie. I enjoyed Reversible Errors more than I thought I would, and do recommend it more as a rental than as a purchase, however.


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