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Absence of Malice

A movie directed by Sydney Pollack

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No malice intended here

  • Jul 10, 2000
Pros: .

Cons: ..

An interesting study of how a well placed newspaper article can affect a persons life and how it can ruin a persons life. Newman is the son of a mobster, but runs a legal business. However, he is in business with his uncle who is still connected to the mob. When a labor leader comes up missing, a federal investigator, thinking Newman is involved, leaks the info to news reporter, Fields.

Giving Fields credit, she did attempt to contact Newman before the news release, but sent the story through without confirmation of details. In effect, this ruins Newmans' life and business. He brings suit against the paper and Fields, which is mediated by Brimley, a no nonsense judge.

Newman plays a somewhat different part in this movie. He plays his usual mild mannered, affable character, but throws in a good deal of spark and violence with the semi-rape of Fields. Fields gives a great portrayal of an enterprising reporter, shades of Woodward and Bernstein, plus she showed a soft side as well.

If you have ever been a victim of a violent attack you could completely identify with her portrayal as she staggers from the warehouse, blouse torn, disheveled and vulnerable.

Perhaps the most surprising performance was Wilford Brimley. This guy always fluctuates between really good guy and really bad guy. In this story he was just a down to earth judge that was itching to kick some booty. Though his part was brief, it really gave the story the punch it needed for closure.

Stars: Paul Newman, Sally Fields, Melinda Dillon, Wilford Brimley


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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


While investigating the death of a local union leader, an ambitious young reporter (Sally Field as Megan) becomes involved in a dangerous triangle of love, deceit, and national espionage. After all story leads fall through, shady government agent Rosen cajoles Megan into befriending financier, Gallagher (Paul Newman), a man with filial ties to the Mafia. Becoming Gallagher's confidant, Megan conducts a secret investigation of his life and is soon convinced that Gallagher is involved with the murder. Megan then publishes an article containing a staggering amount of incriminating evidence against him. <br> <br> Written by American journalist Kurt Luedtke, ABSENCE OF MALICE takes an honest look at the world of journalism. Its dialogue and characters are of the upmost realism. Newman delivers a riveting performance as the innocent "patsy," fingered by the government. Director Pollack and writer Kurt Luedtke team up again four years after this film to script the epic OUT OF AFRICA.
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Director: Sydney Pollack
Release Date: 1981
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (March 31, 1998)
Runtime: 1hr 57min
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