Beyond a Reasonable Doubt was the end of Fritz Lang in Hollywood, and, my, what a nasty finale! Though far from a masterpiece (the premise requires an extreme suspension of disbelief), the last act pulverizes all expectations; this is not a happy film.
It’s also out-of-print and rarely screened, which makes it an ideal candidate for a remake in this grim cinematic climate (Lang certainly would’ve approved, at least in theory, of the nihilistic No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood). So who better to rework the master’s hope-starved Hollywood swan song than… Peter Hyams? Well, he is an able technician; he does D.P. his own films.
By my count, this will be Hyams’s third official remake, and, sadly, the second to not get transplanted to outer space (ala Outland). It’ll also be his first film since the mind-meltingly awful A Sound of Thunder, which would’ve ended the career of lesser directors (or, more accurately, less established directors). Michael Douglas will firmly ensconce himself on the B-list by starring in this misbegotten retelling, which concerns a journalist who sets himself up for the murder of a stripper in order to make a sweeping (if unnecessarily perilous) condemnation of the death penalty (yes, The Life of David Gale ripped this off, too). When the evidence that will exonerate the reporter goes missing, he’s kinda in the shit.
Some entity I’ve never heard of called Foresight Unlimited will finance Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, which will also feature the happy-to-work duo of Amber Tamblyn and Jesse Metcalfe. The top dog at Foresight, Mark Damon, goes so far as to call Hyams a “visionary director”. And if Hyams has not completely lost his sight, then, yes, I technically agree.
But the biggest insult? The Variety writer, Patrick Frater, credits Hyams as the director of Robocop. The name you’re grasping for is Peter Weller, you dipstick. And he was the star. And he was awesome in Firstborn.