Witness (1985) is a film starring Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Hass and directed by Peter Weir. The plot for Witness is deceptively a simple one. It is about a young Amish boy who witnesses a murder at a Philadelphia train station. Detective John Book as portrayed by Harrison Ford, is assigned the homicide case. Turns out a cop was murdered and he has a single eye-witness who saw the killer. Kelly McGillis plays Rachel Lapp. She’s the mother of Samuel (Lukas Hass), the little boy who saw the crime. Rachel’s just lost her husband and was traveling to Baltimore to see her sister. Now her son is involved in a homicide investigation.
While Samuel is at police headquarters, looking through pages of possible suspects, he looks up and spots a photo of a police officer and it turns out to be the same man he saw kill another cop. Book immediately shares this information with another cop and that turns out to be a mistake. Soon he finds himself being targeted and he gets shot. He picks up Rachel and Samuel from his sister’s apartment in the middle of the night and takes them back home, telling them ominously that there won’t be a trial. As he leaves, his car veers off the road and he is taken in and taken care of by Rachel’s family.
Much of the film shows Book trying to blend into the Amish community while he recuperate from his gunshot wound. Meanwhile, back in Philly, he only has one other ally in helping him gather the facts around the killing of another cop. Book knows that Samuel is in danger if their enemies track them down. Since the Amish shun much of the modern-day technology and don’t own a phone they are pretty hard to track down. The scope of the investigation into the murder of the policeman goes deeper that Book realized. We’re talking corrupt police officers within the department and with him being the only honest cop left.
Meanwhile, a romance slowly develops between Book and Rachel. It was sweet, the attraction both have for one another. I really enjoyed the quiet moments of the film and getting a brief glimpse at what life is like living in the Amish community. I remember being quite fascinated and thinking to myself: I couldn’t live like this.*lol* It was fun watching Rachel being courted by another gentleman from the Amish community while she is secretly longing for Book. There’s a scene where Rachel is bathing and it’s storming outside. He sneaks over and watches her bathe and she turns around and the two of them look straight at each other. Talk about an electrically charged scene. The two say nothing out loud to each other but they silently communicate with one another. Book reluctantly turns around and leaves. The next morning he goes looking for her and says:
If we’d made love last night I’d have to stay. Or you’d have to leave.
The ending wasn’t a disappointment with the climatic showdown with the bad guys and of course that last kiss goodbye between Book and Rachel. Witness is one of my favorite movies and one I re-watch every year. I think this is only movie that Harrison Ford was nominated for a Best Acting Oscar and he deserved it too for his work in this movie. There are a few humorous moments in here with Rachel putting his bullets in the flour can. Or the scene where Book goes into town and a tourist tries to take his picture:
John Book: Lady, you take my picture with that thing and I’m gonna rip your brassiere off… and strangle you with it! You got that?
Tourist Lady: [in disbelief, to no one in particular] Did you hear what that Amish just said to me?
Many memorable moments in this movie. Have you seen it too?
All quotes come from IMDb