The story is your typical murder suspect, church sex scandals, courtroom drama, but what made this so enjoyable is the plot within it. There are numerous twists and turns that make this riveting. What elevates the material even more is the incredible acting specifically between Richard Gere, Laura Linney, and Edward Norton. Edward Norton's performance the most powerful showing that you can be a newcomer actor with no real film experience and dominate the show.
Edward is in a league of his own up there with some of the greats like Jodie Foster. I saw this when it first came out as one of my friends had worked on this film. And I remember him telling me the lead new actor is incredible. He said this Edward Norton guy came into the audition talking to everyone with this accent. They all assumed he was from Kentucky, then after he was cast they later discovered he had brilliantly fooled them in the audition room, because he doesn't really talk like that. He's a Yale graduate wordy intellectual. This only further cemented the brilliance of Edward Norton who went onto star in other amazing films giving his expected intense and awesome performance.
Regardless that he's one of the many amazing actors in cinema history, this is one of the many must see films of his.