It all starts off when a beautiful Amish widow takes her little son
Samuel from their home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to visit her
sister in Baltimore and try to get over her grief...
While passing through Philadelphia, and on entering alone a men's
restroom in a train station, Samuel glances up to see two men advancing
with unmistakable menace toward a young man... He caught sight of the
face of one of the two attackers who killed him...
As the plot becomes more intricate, and through a series of interesting
events, detective John Book finds himself forced to protect the shy
eight-year-old boy and his helpless mother... He disappears for some
days in the Amish Country...
Harrison Ford stars as a fugitive cop who is initially unwelcome in a
community he knows a little about... He tries to learn the importance
of family and community, the philosophy of brotherhood and
non-resistance... He becomes involved in a case that will essentially
change his human perceptions... And later, he finds himself falling in
love with a sensitive young woman...
Kelly McGillis is captivating as Rachel, a woman who feels a shadow of
confusion crossing her mind... She stares at the honest cop, realizing
the price he's paid in returning them to safety...
In one scene she catches him watching her bath... She hesitates for a
moment, but in that precise moment she makes a choice... Slowly she
turns to face him, topless, without shame... For a moment she attempts
a tender effort to become, for an instant, a woman of his world...
In another scene we see her playing the charade of her life... Bound by
duty, but tempted by desire, she leaves her white cap - symbol of her
identity - on the table, and surrenders to a passion, that makes her
sensual nature say it all...
Lukas Haas is very fine as the cute kid in the black coat and hat... He
slowly raises his hand to point at the black and white photograph...
This nice boy remains untouched by the violence interposed into his
Jan Rubes is believable as Rachel's father-in-law Eli... He is torn by
conflicts between faith, discipline, dedication and humility... He
tries his best to protect what's left of his family from the pressures
of the outside world... It's pretty clear he doesn't like this
Englishman wearing the clothes of his faith... For him his
daughter-in-law has brought fear to his house... and now she is dancing
to English music!
Alexander Godunov brings a solid performance to the role of Daniel,
Rachel's discarded suitor... It's no surprise that he wants the
disappearance of the policeman... Book's tempting presence will only
weak his chance with Rachel... In one remarkable scene and on a road
running parallel to the train track, he urges his horse almost to the
gallop as he attempts to keep pace with the train...
It is quite interesting to see Danny Glover as a crooked cop, who's
corrupt and evil... But the heart of the movie is a study of the
Pennsylvania Amish through the eyes of an outsider suddenly introduced
into their life... Peter Weir tries to paint a realistic portrait of
the Amish who are best known for their severely 'plain clothing' and
their 'non-conformed' way of life... The Amish also avoid telephones
and electric lights and drive horses and buggies rather than cars...
Weir delivers a powerful and romantic story, an engaging film of
different style, mixing two different cultures, the simplicity of the
Amish lifestyle with the urban culture and fashion... The music and
cinematography work beautifully to impart all the emotions of the
'Witness' (won Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Original
Screenplay. Nominations for Best Actor (Ford), Art Direction,
Cinematography, Director, Score and Best Picture..) is quiet
provoking.. thrilling and entertaining.. I highly recommend it..
If you look carefully, you'll spot Viggo Mortensen in his screen
debut.. as Moses Hochleitner, Daniel's little brother...