Martin Vail, (Richard Gere) is a very cocky infamous defense attorney. He's always got one ear open to the news to see who's been arrested. When it's announced that Archbishop Rushman (Stanley Anderson) has just been murdered and a young teenage boy from Kentucky, was caught fleeing the scene covered in blood, he immediately gets involved taking this high profile case "pro bono." Vail isn't interested in what really happened as much as he is in coming up with explanations for the blood covering the boy's clothing. Vail assembles his team to dig up all they can about the Archibishop to see what skeltons hang there and who might have wanted him dead.
Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton) swears he didn't do it. And with his boyish face and innocense in his voice, Vail becomes even more determined to get his client off. The more meetings he has with Stampler, the more he begins to think his client his telling the truth. As the trial begins, Vail finds he's up against his old collague and sleeping partner Assistant District Attorney Janet Venable (Laura Linney), and old memories resurface. But Janet is not too fond of the ways things were left between her and Vail and she is even more deteremined to bring him down publicly. Without giving too much of the story away, lets just say Vail comes out on top. OR does he?
1996 - Primal Fear - Chicago Film Critics Association - Most Promising Actor.
1996 - Primal Fear - Golden Globe - Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.
1996 - Primal Fear - Los Angeles Film Critics Association - Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Writers: Ann Biderman, Steve Shagan
Producer: Gary Lucchesi