Reversal of Fortune focuses on one of the most intriguing criminal trials of the 1980s, that of Claus von Bülow, who was accused of sending his rich wife Sunny into a permanent coma with an overdose of insulin. Director Barbet Schroeder, working from Nicholas Kazan's evocative, darkly humorous script, turns the story into both a look at the lives of rich folks with too much time on their hands and a whodunit, as lawyer Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver) prepares to defend von Bülow (Jeremy Irons) in court. Irons won an Oscar for his spooky, knowing performance, which hints... at depths of degeneracy without ever putting a dent in a veneer of bored elegance. The contrast between the hard-charging Dershowitz and his eager-beaver Harvard law students and the eternally languid von Bülow adds unexpected humour. --Marshall Fine [show more]
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In 1979, American heiress Martha 'Sunny' von Bulow (Glenn Close) lapses into a coma after being injected with insulin. Her husband, Claus (Jeremy Irons), is charged with murder. Sentenced to thirty years in prison, Claus gets out on bail for a million dollars and convinces lawyer Alan M. Derschowitz (Ron Silver) to file an appeal.
REVERSAL OF FORTUNE based on defence attorney Alan Dershowitz's book is a hypnotically eerie exploration of a dark ambiguous event in the life of a wealthy socialite couple Dershowitz (Ron Silver) is hired by Claus von Bulow (Jeremy Irons) to defend him against charges that he attempted to murder his wife Sunny (Glenn Close) who lies in a coma As Dershowitz aided by his eager law students scrambles for ways to puncture the veracity of the charges against von Bulow Sunny narrates flashback scenes that offer a frosted window into both the events leading up to her coma-inducing collapse and the strangely cold and alienating world of the superrich Irons's von Bulow a brilliant Academy Award-winning characterisation provides the creepy complicated centre for a film in which every surface is slippery and every truth has trailing behind it a sinuous shadow of doubt Silver energises the film with his portrayal of the tenacious obsessive defence attorney and Close adds a vital layer with her biting narration and her work in flashback scenes as a woman sadly drifting in a drug-addled haze through her moneyed world Director Barbet Schroeder who garnered Academy Award nominations for both Best Director and (with co-writer Nicholas Kazan) Best Screenplay orchestrates with a light touch preserving the buoyancy of a film that is deeply textured yet tight as a riddle