A sheltered Amish child is the sole witness of a brutal murder in a restroom at a Philadelphia train station, and he must be protected. The assignment falls to a taciturn detective who goes undercover in a Pennsylvania Dutch community. On the farm, he slowly assimilates despite his urban grit and forges a romantic bond with the child's beautiful mother.
As 80s thrillers go it's pretty smart to say the least. The formula of this thriller (Drama) is not (was) new or even flag bearing as regards action set pieces and hide behind your hands suspense, yet it is still one of a kind for the genre and the decade it came from. The plot is a sizzler as it involves the central theme of outsiders who are considered outside of the mainstream norm. To have a thriller involving the Amish community not only brings into focus how different folks' beliefs can be, but to also hit home at just how ignorant many are to the ways of minorities and what they stand for. So many great things about the movie stand out. Harrison Ford is perfect, yes it's a perfect performance, his John Book is gruff and rugged yet as the story moves on he nails the endearment and knowing traits that the character calls for. Kelly McGillis is an actress who I feel drags down nearly all the films she leads in, yet here I forgive her because she is marvellous as Rachael, an Amish woman fighting her inner feelings as much as she is the bad outside world that wants to hurt her son. Peter Weir IMHO is one of the most under praised modern day directors around (yes even now), and here his deft hands put the story together adroitly, whilst John Searle's cinematography is gorgeous and out of the top draw. It's an almost perfect movie as regards acting and the process of making a film, I do however fly in the face of popular opinion as regards the score, it doesn't work for me (I'm sad to say), Maurice Jarre's drawn out synth seems to me out of place for the setting we are watching, I personally would have liked a more subtle string arrangement - but that is me... For those looking for a first time viewing in the Drama/Thriller genre then they can do no worse than seek this one out. It delivers on a plot front, and the ending doesn't pander to studio yearnings either. 9/10 The S/E DVD has a wonderful making of feature that is crammed full of quality input, and for Ford worshippers such as I, it contains none aloof input from the legend himself, that alone was worth the 5 Euros it cost me for this cracking film.