Witness (1985)

Witness (1985), directed by Peter Weir.

When an Amish boy witnesses a murder, a wounded big city police detective has to get him out of town and hides out with him among his own people in the country. They don't believe in violence. He does. You can't hide forever.

I'd forgotten how good is the visual composition in this one. Still, you can see Peter Weir making the transition to big-title Hollywood director. The experimental risk-taking of Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and The Last Wave (1977) fade into the past.

The plot flows smoothly. Predictably? I can't remember what I was expecting when I saw this in the theater. The one sour note is when Harrison Ford beats up some rude yahoos. Yes, he is upset that his partner has been murdered, but the point of the incident is to show how much more satisfying revenge is than nonviolence. At the time I recall the film was shown to some Amish and that was the only scene they really objected to: he shouldn't behave that way when wearing those clothes.


Maurice Jarre synthesizer score. Ah, the 80s.

Available on bare-bones Blu-ray (with about two dozen subtitle languages) and the result is disappointing. I hope the lab used up its black crush quota for this disc so that others don't suffer. So many Amish coats with so little detail. The package says 152 minutes, but they mean 1h52m.