Criminal Law (1988)
A relatively formulaic thriller, and a film that in every aspect is a typical representative for late 1980s American filmmaking, with its exaggerations and stereotypes, twisting and turning in familiar ways, more controlled by what the filmmakers would like to make work than what actually can work. Still, Criminal Law is a film that interests, mainly through watching a young and sexy Gary Oldman honing his acting skills, turning the slick yuppie lawyer Ben Chase into a desperately obsessed man who is driven to challenge his own existence. Kevin Bacon plays Oldman's adversary like Andrew McCarthy on a high. He is without the sting he would pick up later in his career. The film is satisfying to the uncritical eye, and Martin Campbell directs with fine progression and an immaculate sense for the artificial: Martin Sinelnikoff is grateful for being allowed to die while exchanging quotes with Oldman. It's great to see supporting characters who know that life isn't really about them. Pluses go out to an engaging Karen Young and a Freudian link that is far from the worst motivation a thriller psycho has been given.