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Double Jeopardy Review

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Libby and Nick Parson are happily married - but when Nick disappears, and Libby awakes to find a bloody knife in her hand, she is convicted of his murder. On her release six years later, she suspects that her husband is still alive, and sets out to track him down and kill him. After all, she can't be convicted twice.

★★★★★

The considerable success of this US autumn sleeper only confirms why made-for-TV movies just like it are churned out in their dozens: chicks like movies about wronged women getting their own back, however ludicrously.

The winning, capable, and in this outing, athletic Judd stars as Libby Parsons, an oblivious young wife and mother who thinks she has it all. Then she wakes up on her sailboat covered in blood and picks up a gory knife just in time to strike a guilty pose in the Coast Guard's searchlight. Before you can say, "Oops...", we've segued into a Women-Behind-Bars flick in which Libby makes a shock discovery no one else believes. Six years later she's released into the keeping of cynical parole officer Travis Lehman (Jones doing his obsessional law enforcer thing) and irritates him by breaking parole.

Well, with the internet, who needs private detectives? Evidently Libby's prison education was strong on IT sleuthing skills so she can track her prey, but deficient in more traditional tips like breaking and entering, ensuring the angry Travis is right behind her, from the Pacific Northwest to New Orleans, complete with the obligatory jazz funeral procession.

Beresford's forte of character study (Breaker Morant, Driving Miss Daisy, 1991's neglected gem Black Robe) is subsumed in the cliches of a by-the-numbers thriller whose most interesting revelations are Judd's dress size (a teensy two) and, oh yes, the title reference to the point of law that a person can't be tried for the same crime twice.

That such tosh squeaks through as trashily enjoyable is testament to Judd's basic likeability and Jones' craggy charm, even as a cold character he could have played standing on his head.