Witness (1985)

Intelligent crime drama with a meaty role for Indiana Jones’ Harrison Ford.

On his first trip outside his community, Amish boy Samuel (Lukas Haas) witnesses a murder at a rest room. As the only witness to the crime, Samuel tries to identify the killer from the ‘usual suspects’, but quite by accident sees a picture of the man at the police station.

Cop John Book (Harrison Ford), assigned to the case, sees it spiral out of control, as he winds up wounded at the Amish farm of Samuel and his mother Rachel (Kelly McGillis) …

The broader theme of Witness is that of a fallen world. Right at the start, when Samuel sees the outside world for the first time, he learns about its fatal flaws, when he witnesses the murder. Now, life has got complicated for the cloistered boy, which requires him to be instructed. What you have seen, you take into your heart, his grandfather tells him. So be separate from them, come out from among them, he continues, but the fallen reality still poses a challenge. The Amish are facing the stains of a fallen world in their own backyard as the consequences of the crime are too close for comfort. And when Rachel is falling in love with Book, the necessities of living a pure life and staying true to the faith is put to the test. Yet Book is a good cop, a presence of ‘righteousness’ throughout.

If you need to know, there is occasional coarse language, and brief female nudity in a dramatic content. There are also a few scenes containing violence.

This is a mature and presentable drama/thriller, that doesn’t exploit the religious, and presents palatable the Amish reality and the cop’s world. It is written for the screen by Earl W. Wallace and William Kelley, who with Pamela Wallace came up with the original story. Director Peter Weir takes on consummate films. From beginning to end, Witness holds your interest. 

5 out of 5 stars

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