When not appearing in sentimental chick flicks like "Where the Heart Is" and "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood", Ashley Judd can normally be found playing plucky and resourceful heroines in generic Hollywood thrillers.
"High Crimes" is a case in point: a competent, slick but overly familiar drama that feels like an amalgam of "Jagged Edge", "A Few Good Men" and Judd's own "Double Jeopardy".
Claire Kubik (Judd) has everything: she's a successful lawyer, owns a beautiful house and has a loving, handsome husband. But her perfect world is shattered when, just before Christmas, hubby Tom (Caviezel) is arrested by the FBI and charged with murder.
It turns out hubby is really Ronald Chapman, a former covert military operative who has been on the run for 15 years after being framed for the wanton slaughter of civilians while on a mission in El Salvador.
Convinced of his innocence, Claire decides to defend her man at his court-martial - with a little help from Charlie Grimes (Freeman), an ex-army attorney and recovering alcoholic.
Director Carl Franklin, whose previous successes include "One False Move" and "Devil in a Blue Dress", handles the courtroom confrontations with aplomb. Freeman steals every scene he's in, and Judd delivers another capable, committed performance as the embattled heroine.
But otherwise this thriller-by-numbers fails to add anything fresh to an already exhausted genre, with even the obligatory twist-in-the-tail ending provoking little more than an apathetic shrug.