Cinema: Afterimages Witness

Directed by Peter Weir Screenplay by Earl W. Wallace and William Kelley

Grain ripening in the sun and rustling in the wind. Moving through it, stately figures dressed in black, the men bearded, the women wearing long dresses. The image is out of 19th century rural life. Certainly it is not what one expects to see at the beginning of a movie that takes up, among other 20th century matters, a drug-related murder and police corruption.

Yet it is precisely the business of Witness, which is one of the most originally conceived and gracefully made suspense dramas of recent years, to work into edgy juxtaposition the representatives of two subcultures that are ordinarily...

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