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For an encore to his Silence of the Lambs, Jonathan Demme offers an olive branch to the homosexual protesters of his depiction therein of a serial killer. His atonement takes the form of a courtroom drama about the wrongful-termination suit of an AIDS-afflicted yuppie lawyer and closet gay: a talking-heads movie with driblets of consciousness-raising strewn throughout. (Our point of identification is the ambulence-chaser who agrees squeamishly to take the case — Denzel Washington, highly ingratiating — and ultimately attains enlightenment.) Every now and then Demme bestirs himself from the TV closeups to do some antsy and energetic direction: e.g., the circling camera and changing light during Tom Hanks's exegesis of a Callas aria on the stereo. He continues to flaunt his hipness in other areas, too, with original songs solicited from Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, and bit-parts assigned to grade-Z movie icons Roger Corman and Charles Napier. Also with Mary Steenburgen and Jason Robards (from Demme's Melvin and Howard). (1993) — Duncan Shepherd

Rated PG-13 | 2 hours, 5 minutes
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