Emilia Clarke lifts single-handedly Above all suspicion with a gritty and brutal performance. The film is based on a notorious true crime that took place decades ago in the forests of the Appalachian Mountains. An illegal affair between an informant and an FBI agent gets out of hand and has tragic consequences. Above all suspicion is full of drugs, sex and violence, but plays like a dry cable film of the week.
Emilia Clarke Stars like Susan Smith. In 1988 Smith lived in Pikeville, Kentucky, with their two children and the ex-husband of drug dealer Cash (Johnny Knoxville) in a trailer park. She was routinely beaten, was addicted to cocaine, and was a social cheater to support her family. Smith longed for a better life, but could never escape the sinkhole around her. She and Cash were throwing drug parties with local hooligans.
Jack Huston plays Mark Putnam, a recently promoted FBI agent with a young woman (Sophie Lowe) and a newborn daughter. Putnam despised his transfer to Pikeville, but saw it as an opportunity for promotion. A bank robber hit eleven banks in the area. During the investigation into the crime, he came into contact with Cash and Susan Smith. Putnam quickly realizes that Susan was living in the Nexus because of drugs and theft. She was absolutely thrilled with the handsome Putnam. But becoming an FBI informant was a dangerous business. Snitches were despised and did not last long in the Kentucky hills.
Above all suspicion succeeds the harrowing portrayal of Susan Smith. It was a product of their environment. Crime, domestic violence, and addiction were accepted fates. anything to tarnish the drudgery of their existence. Mark Putnam was a clear, ingenious way out. He was everything she’d dreamed of in a man. Through him she saw a better life for herself and her children. Putnam was intoxicated with her smoldering sexuality and her ability to achieve his professional goals. The film clearly defines their different agendas. She urgently needed to escape, but was inexorably drawn into a worse situation.
Above all suspicion puts a lot of emphasis on eye-catching details, but not enough on presentation. The supporting characters are either backwoods cops or coke-sniffing rubles. Smith’s sister (Thora Birch) has a semblance of normalcy but only gets a few minutes of screen time. Australian director Phillip Noyce (Patriot games, The bone collector) gets stuck in the filth of the narrative. Too much character development remains on the table. An initially fascinating scene between Smith and Putnam’s wife had the potential of serious dramatic depth. But instead of exploring further, drugs and sex are racing back to the fore.
Emilia Clarke shows significant reach in this brave role. She portrays Susan Smith as desperate, naive and foolishly impetuous. Clarke is beaten to a pulp with an upset stomach in several graphic scenes. She gives everything in this film. Even her southern accent is flawless. You couldn’t get any further game of ThronesDaenerys Targaryen, a dragon rider, or Sarah Connor, blazing with weapons Terminator Genisys. Above all suspicion is worth seeing as a showcase for their talent. The film is currently in theaters and will be available for digital download from Lionsgate with a DVD / Blu-ray release on May 18th.
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