US, 1988, 111 minutes, Colour.
Jodie Foster, Kelly Mc Gillis, Leo Rossi.
Directed by Jonathan Kaplan.
The Accused is a fairly hard-hitting film about rape and rape victims. The film was written by Tom Topor and directed by Jonathan Kaplan.
Jodie Foster shows her versatility as an actress and won and Oscar for the role of the victim. Kelly Mc Gillis is the lawyer - and gives a more restrained performance.
While the film shows ultimately a rather sensational rape sequence, the focus of the film is on the victim, her rights and her story, and the role of the law in defending rights.
1. The impact of the film? Its theme? Human issues? The law? Oscar nomination?
2. The west coast locations? America in general? The American city? The diner, homes, caravan, the courts? The background score?
3. The structure of the film: the aftermath of the rape, Ken's witness and concern, Sarah, the story, the visualising of the rape late in the film? The dramatic effect of our not seeing it until the end? The relative importance of word, truth, the experience? Attitudes of blame and responsibility?
4. The accused: the rapists themselves, those who urged them on, society in general? The law?
5. The statistics about rape, multiple rapists? Audience ideas before the film opened: on rape as a crime, a woman's experience, the men, attitudes and behaviour, the ordeal for the victim, the courts? Reputation?
6. Sarah and the opening, her running, getting a lift, Ken watching and concerned? The doctor and the interrogations, the photographers and her injuries? The lawyers and the interview? Her decision to identify the rapists? Going with Kathryn and the detective? Identifying the rapists, their arrest, the fraternity? Going home, her weariness, her relationship with Larry? Interviews with Kathryn about the case, the men going out on bail? Her reaction to this information as she watched it at work, on TV? Her hatred of the men, hoping that Kathryn would put them behind bars? The background of the plea bargaining? Sarah's anger and her not having the chance to tell her story in court? Sarah as a character: first impressions, the rape, her injuries, drunk, smoking pot, clothes, swearing? The phone call to her mother and the rejection in the night? Larry and the relationship, using her, being bored by her anxiety? Her kicking him out? Work as a waitress? Her friend? Lack of education? As a young woman, her own personal dignity, effect of the rape?
Kathryn and her work, clever, her interviews with Sarah, assessing the case, discussions with her friend and discussing Sarah's behaviour, joking about Bob? The detective and his support? Interviewing Jesse, etc.? Not having Sarah as an effective witness? Decision for plea bargaining and the deal with the lawyers? Sarah's angry intrusion into her dinner party?
8. Sarah in the record shop, the man taunting her, abusing her, her crashing the car into his truck, in hospital? Kathryn coming, following him and hearing his foul mouth? Her change of heart? Feeling she owed Sarah? Confrontation with the boss, the threat of being fired? Her examining the law and is possibility for charges? Sarah and her change of heart, the bond between the two, interviewing her friend (and the possibility of her not being a helpful witness)? Sarah apologising? The friend going to the line-up and the charging of the men?
9. Kathryn and the investigation, the preparation of Sarah? Her going to the Mill and looking at the games, seeing the record, identifying Ken, going to visit him at the fraternity, the evidence of the phone calls?
10. Ken and his visit, the interview, going to see Bob in prison, Bob's pressure, his going to the office and saying he would recant? Hit being afraid - like Sarah?
The court sequences: the strong impact of Sarah telling her story, the experience, the truth, no varnish? The humiliation? her not seeing those urging people on, her declaration that she thought of the word 'no'?
12. Ken and his evidence, his decision to tell the truth, the flashbacks and the visualising of the rape? Its visual and emotional impact? The credibility of Ken? Sarah and judgment about her: her fight with Larry, the sexy entry into the Mill, drinking, smoking pot, chatting with her friend, the jokes, work, the provocative dancing, drinks from Danny, the build-up to the rape, the men's cheers, Bob, Curt, her being pinned down - and finally running? Ken's experiencing the horror, phoning?
13. The plea of the defence: the pity for Sarah, thinking that legally this was nothing? His appeal to the jurors? Undermining the credibility of Ken and his theory of expiation?
14. Kathryn and her summation, saying that it was not 'nothing'? Sarah's experience, justifying Ken?
15. The long wait for the jury, re-reading Ken's evidence? The audience unsure as with Kathryn and Sarah? The press, the nature of the case as a precedent, her boss?
16. The dramatic impact of the jury's decision? The effect on Sarah, on Kathryn? On all? Justice being seen to be done?
17. Themes of rape: the issues, people involved, violence, sexuality? The law? Men and women?