Tommy Lee Jones has played some questionable characters over the years, but when it comes to Double Jeopardy, Reddit can’t seem to get over just how dicey the 1999 movie itself is. “I had an idea that they took some liberties with the idea of double jeopardy itself, but it was so much worse than I thought,” the Redditor wrote in a post in the r/movies subreddit.
Double Jeopardy, directed by Bruce Beresford, follows Libby Parsons (Ashley Judd), after she is wrongly imprisoned for the murder of her husband — who faked his own death and framed Libby for the crime. After being released from prison, Libby tries to track down her husband and kill him – which she can legally do under the double jeopardy rule. Tommy Lee Jones co-stars as Libby’s parole officer, who is initially doubtful of her innocence before discovering the truth for himself.
It might be one of the best ’90s movies of all time, and indeed, one of Tommy Lee Jones’ best movies, but in this Reddit post, which has been upvoted 3,500 times at the time of writing, Reddit user u/NemesisRogue explains why the premise of one of the best thriller movie is all wrong.
Recounting the plot, the user notes how “when she’s in prison an ex-lawyer inmate tells her that the double jeopardy rule means she could shoot her husband in Times Square and there would be nothing anyone could do about it. This is the centrepiece of the film, and it’s doubly inaccurate, since Times Square is in a different state and it would be a different murder.”
The user then goes on to remark how the moment she is released from prison, Libby goes on a “crime spree across multiple states,” committing various felonies including breaking and entering, resisting arrest, fraud, vandalism, and nearly killing her parole officer.
Speaking of the parole officer, the Redditor points out how upon discovering Libby’s innocence, he makes the most ludicrous decision possible. “Rather than telling the police and exposing that she never committed the crime in the first place, he decides to team up with her,” he notes.
This all leads up to the final face-off between Libby, her husband, and the parole officer. As well as being riddled with action, this is also riddled with even more inaccuracies. Firstly, “as a former law professor, the parole officer assures both parties that she can legally kill him with no problem,” the Redditor continues. “Which she can’t.”
“After informing him of the plan they turn their backs on him, he pulls out a gun, and she ends up shooting him to stop him murdering the parole officer anyway, which would be perfectly legal regardless of double jeopardy, so the central premise of the film didn’t even make any difference,” the Redditor despairs.
“She’s then taken back to Washington where her parole officer assures her he will recommend a full pardon. She gets it, seemingly instantly, is back in Louisiana in no time, and the film ends with her free as a bird.”
If nothing else, what this teaches us is to never watch Tommy Lee Jones movies with the hope of accuracy. Nearly 25 years later, even the best movies based on a true story are known to be pretty… liberal with the truth. For a recent example of this, Christopher Nolan‘s new movie Oppenheimer, which is based around the top-secret Manhatten Project, is still playing in some cinemas now. Here’s how to watch Oppenheimer. For something entirely fictional, you may want to look into Avatar 3, instead.