VIOLENT CRIME against women is not entertainment. "Star 80" was not entertainment. "Body Double" was not entertainment." And "Jagged Edge" is not entertainment. It is commercially packaged abuse. And we are supposed to call this anger art.
Richard Marquand is the culprit behind this morbid murder mystery in which a California socialite is found tied to her bed, with a bloody hunting knife between her legs. It is the jagged edge of the title, and the nasty, serrated symbol of social irresponsibility in our time.
Glenn Close elects to star as the lovelorn attorney for the defense, a career woman whose vulnerability (what we all want in a criminal lawyer) suckers her into a romance with her client and into harm's way.
Jeff Bridges plays the murder victim's husband who is accused of the crime by a politically aspiring D.A. (Peter Coyote). "If I were going to kill my wife, that's the way I'd do it," jokes the prosecutor to his cronies, who suggest money is the motive for the crime.
And we are supposed to wonder if the hapless, puppy-faced Bridges is capable of the deed. Bridges' character is a pudding-headed preppie who never develops. He looks like a man in an ad for an Arrow shirt and that's about as near as we get to him.
"The first time I saw you, I wanted you," he says to Close, who doesn't seem suspicious of this come-on in one so recently bereaved.
In her quest for justice, Close is hounded by the sexist D.A. and treated like a child by the judge. And it's no wonder, since she even cries in the courtroom, her feelings hurt by the prosecution's surprise witness. Silly girl.
Not only is the character foolish enough to fall in love with and make love to her client -- a man she knows might have just sliced up his wife -- but she's not even professional about it.
Of course, Close can't help it if her character is emotional or that wardrobe dressed this criminal attorney in a taut, puckered skirt, the better to prance about the courtroom.
"Jagged Edge" costars Robert Loggia as a crusty old detective, with Marshall Colt quite good as a tennis pro linked to the murder and a second, vicious crime.
Good performances by Close and Coyote along with Marquand's workmanlike approach can't make up for the insensitivity, mundane characterizations and sexploitation.