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Talking To The Screen
Murder in the First :1995
If I've ever watched a movie, that was ruined by its main character it's this 

'Murder in the First' has all the trimmings of an enjoyable, even touching 
movie.  The (supporting) cast is first rate.  Kevin Bacon plays Henri Young, an 
Alcatraz inmate who is sent to solitary confinement for three years following a 
foiled escape attempt. Gary Oldman is wonderfully wicked as the Associate Warden 
and de facto ruler of Alcatraz, Milton Glenn. William H. Macy has a small and 
not particularly interesting role as District Attorney William McNeil.

(I first noticed William H. Macy along with most everyone else in Fargo.  Since 
then I keep seeing him everywhere.  One day, you notice a fellow commuter on the 
train to work, and then every morning like clockwork you see him.  You've 
probably been sitting next to each other for over a year, but he's been just 
another faceless body, until one day.)

Henri Young, after spending three years in solitary confinement in the sub-
basement of Alcatraz, kills the man who sent him there the day he gets out.  He 
is now on trial for murder and faces the death penalty.  Rookie attorney, James 
Stamphill is assigned his futile case.  Stamphill after hearing tales of his 
treatment in The Rock, decides that the best line of defense isn't a plea of 
insanity (which the judge warns him against, but offers no explanation) but 
rather to put the blame on Alcatraz.  

Christian Slater plays James Stamphill, and is simply atrocious.  The movie is 
supposed to take place in the early 1940s.  Nothing about Slater's portrayal of 
Stamphill apart from his costume rung true to the era.  He's just the same 
Christian Slater that he's always been.  That plays fine in a modern movie, but 
not here.  Also, his narration makes me cringe.  Part of the blame here lies on 
the script, but it's only made worse by Slater.

What's so infuriating about him is that Christian Slater had in his hands a 
decent movie, which he could have made remarkable; instead he sent it to 
mediocrity.  See 'A Few Good Men' instead.