Re-watching this film in 2019, I got to thinking about the state of Hollywood movies today, as compared to 26 years ago--or 40 or 50 years ago. Today, we're pummelled with CGI special effects, ludicrous story lines with tons of requisite "twists," scenes flashing at us so fast we can barely keep up, filmakers showing off their impressive "cleverness" at the expense of good stories, and a general atmosphere of amorality in a majority of films.
Flash back to 1993 and _The Fugitive_. No CGI special effects--the director Andrew Davis used a real train and a real bus in the horrendous accident scene, and it's stunning. The story line is linear and logical. The scenes are done carefully and meticulously; they linger when necessary, and they move fast when necessary. Davis is not flaunting his chops, although they're considerable; he's telling us a real human story--something which is largely missing from the innumerable "action" movies of today. And _The Fugitive_ has a moral message about justice and doing the right thing in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
It's great movie making in the tradition of Hitchcock, Lumet, et al.
_The Fugitive_ has earned its place on the list of all time great films. The two main characters couldn't have been more perfectly casted: Harrison Ford's Richard Kimble is stoic and laconic, but he's also a hero--a real human hero. Tommy Lee Jones gives one of his best performances ever, wisecracking throughout, but devoted to his job, and most importantly, empathetic enough to accept Kimble's innocence. Early in the film, he tells Kimble he doesn't care if he's innocent. In the final scene, when it's all over and Kimble is exonerated, Kimble says, "I thought you didn't care." Jones replies, "I don't. Don't tell anybody, OK?", but his smile belies his wisecrack. It's a perfect scene with perfect lines.
Yes, I'm waxing nostalgic. But when I think of all the dreck that passes for good cinema today, I can't help it. Watch this instead of the latest trendy Hollywood trash and be reminded what great filmmaking really is.