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(2009), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] (1hr 38min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
January 28, 2010
January 30, 2010

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2009), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] ... is beyond a reasonable doubt not fit for 13teenage audiences.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Foresight Unlimited, RKO Pictures, Signature Pictures
Distribution (US): Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director(s): Peter Hyams
Producer(s): Prince Faisal S. Al-Saud, Stephanie Caleb, Kevin Cornish, Mark Damon, Limor Diamant, Michael P. Flannigan, Ted Hartley, Michael A. Helfant, John Hyams, Laura Ivey, Jonathan S. Marshall, James Portolese, Aaron Ray, Steven Saxton, Courtney Solomon, Tamara Stuparich de la Barra, Joshua Throne, Olga Tymshan, Allan Zeman
Screenplay by: Peter Hyams, Douglas Morrow
Cinematography/Camera: Peter Hyams
Music: David Shire
Film Editing: Jeff Gullo
Casting: Ryan Glorioso
Production Design: James A. Gelarden
Art Direction: Kevin Hardison
Viewed on Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD

This film analysis is sponsored by the generosity of E&HP.

In spite of the high wattage performers weaving their way through in an intricate plot seamlessly stitched into a tapestry of corruption and upper echelon dishonesty concocted to boost a high power District Attorney into the Governor's office, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, (PG-13) is beyond a reasonable doubt not fit for 13teenage (adolescent) audiences. With a final score of 23 out of 100 it is about as "R" and R can get. And if it is not fit for adolescents it is not fit for adults or toddlers. Remember, folks. I did not write the Rules. If you have a problem with the Rules, talk to the One who wrote them ... and who enforces them.

Shreveport DA, Mark S. Hunter (Michael Douglas) has a winning streak of 17 convictions based almost entirely on DNA evidence. Christopher John "CJ" Nicholas (Jesse Metcalfe), investigative reporter for KRUL Channel 8 News, finds this hard to believe and does not trust Hunter ... "he's too smooth." After a conviction trial for the murder of 22 year old Lucinda Harris based solely on the DNA evidence on a cigarette butt found at the scene. CJ decides to investigate the DA's string of convictions and does his best to snuggle up to an assistant to the DA, Ella Crystal (Amber Tamblyn - The Ring, The Grudge 2) to get privileged information about the cases, even though CJ's fuzzy camera man Corey Finley (Joel Moore) advises CJ that Ella is out of his league. But soon, CJ and Ella fall in love ... and, of course, in bed (it's PG-13 isn't it?). Ella's loyalty to her boss, the DA slowly wanes and, in spite of initial looking-down-her-nose snippets at CJ, her heart warms up to CJ and his quest for truth.

After hard-hitting, on-the-edge coverage of a notorious coffee taste test in a mall, CJ rushes to the murder trial of Lucinda where CJ introduces his distrust and dislike of DA Mark Hunter. After another victory that sent another "bad guy" on to the pokey, Hunter feeds the cameras with another slick and noble "It's not about me" soliloquy, CJ chases after Ella to get into her ... er ... video tape files for the police interview tape for the Harris case. Here is where Ella first displays her opinion of CJ and feigns putting CJ into his place ... a 'hard to get' [into her bed] session of verbal volley ball. But eventually she breaks down and gives CJ what he wants. All of it but she holds back until after at least a diner together.

During a lengthy period of hard-hitting coverage of ball games, animal shows and the like, CJ continues to observe Hunter and his "smoothness." Finding nothing he can pin on Hunter, CJ hatches a plan with Corey to stage a murder to get arrested to officially confront Hunter in court to expose Hunter for what CJ believes to be illegal planting of DNA evidence to enable Hunter's 17-win scorecard. Never in a million years would CJ have guessed that he would fall prey to his prey nor that Ella would uncover his secret of the double stars.

Following are brief discussions of the findings by each of the six CAP investigation areas. For a full accounting of the findings. please look to the listings in the Findings/Scoring section of this report (the heart of the CAP analysis model).

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
With an area score of zero out of 100 this film is clearly equivalent to the violence content of R-rated films in the comparative baseline database. Not so much due to graphic content but rather due to so much content. This film is loaded or weighted with "lesser" examples of violence to mimic the "feeling" of a film with more severe content. For more information on this loading or weighting technique see our CAP Rule of 1000 publication. There are numerous still photos of bloody murder victims, motor vehicle violence including attempted murder by vehicle, pursuit to kill and a gunfire killing. While all of it is, of course, fantasy, a bad influence does not have to be real to influence badly. God was aware of this when He had Prov. 16:29 written into the Bible. And 1 Cor. 15:33. And a whole lot of other verses warning us of the emboldenment properties of violence.

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt seems to force profanity, inserting it in places that sound like they are put there just to get profanity in the script. Forty eight times someone utters some form of profanity, including one use of the most foul of the foul words. [Col. 3:8] The foul language alone was enough to drain the starting 100 points in this investigation area down to zero, the lies and the dishonesty throughout notwithstanding.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 8 out of 100
This is a modern PG-13. That means it is okay (according to the MPAA) for your 13 year old kids to watch a man and a woman nude in bed making out, her sitting on him while he is on his back. More than once. And if they watch this film they will see it. More than once. But it is not okay with God. Not once. [1 Ths. 4:1 - 7, Rev. 21:27]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 49 out of 100
I feel it appropriate to let you know what the American College of Physicians (ACP) found regarding exposure of youth to alcoholic beverages and drinking in and as entertainment since this film includes drinking.

A 2002 study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions.

    The researchers selected R-rated movies because they assumed R-rated movies typically present more drinking than movies of other classifications. This assumption is no longer true. The researchers were not aware of the matter of R-13 proven by this ministry in 2000 with which Harvard University researchers agreed four years later. The bottom line? Regardless of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) classification the focus is that the emboldening influence of adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in and as entertainment is undeniable. [Eph. 5:18]

    Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
    Apparently the character portraying the property evidence sergeant, Sergeant Gilbert (David Born) does not believe God is serious about abusing his name. He spewed God's name in vain with the four letter expletive at least eight times in his two or three minutes of screen time. In total God's name was uttered in vain 15 times, most of them by Born. Well, Sergeant Gilbert, be advised that God will not hold anyone who uses His name in vain guiltless. [Deut. 5:11] Whether you believe it or not. Whether I believe it or not. Whether you care or not. Y'see, His Word does not need our belief in it for it to be True.

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 83 out of 100
    While there were a number of attempted murders and images of murder victims (captured by the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area), there was only murder enacted. That was of Finley. He was murdered by police Lt. Merchant (Lawrence P. Beron).


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 (KJV) A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • 1Ths. 4:1 - 7 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified [hagiasmos: be kept or made pure]: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you [hekastos: each, every, whether male or female] should learn to control his [or her] own body [which includes control of drives, touching, seeking, exhibiting, lusting (even after images), promiscuity, etc.] in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; [Be master of your body and urges, not a slave to them.] and that in this matter no one should wrong his [autos: himself, herself, he, she, his, her] brother [adelphos: a fellow believer] or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish [unforgiven] men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you [humin: you, your, yourselves]. For God did not call us [hemas: us, we, our] to be impure, but to live a holy life. [All the gender-related definitions are included to show you this verse applies to women and youth as well as men. And "sexual immorality" (fornication - pornea), by definition, applies to all matters of sexual immorality, including incest, homosexuality, lesbianism, sex with animals and relatives, etc. All God's admonitions can be summed us as any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage.]
  • Rev. 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it [Heaven], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life [those who have been forgiven by Salvation].
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.]
  • Deut. 5:11 (KJV) Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity,such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" will not work with Him.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Beyond a <U>Reasonable</U> Doubt (2009) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • story of child abandonment resulting in its death
  • speeding on public streets
  • staging crime with criminal deeds
  • motor vehicle collision from reckless driving
  • police corruption, repeatedly
  • corruption in district attorney's office
  • car chase with much property damage
  • attempted vehicular murder
  • gunfire killing
  • pursuit to kill - vehicular
  • illegal purchase

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • 48 use of profanity, including one use of the most foul of the foul words but not including God's name in vain (see the Offense to God investigation area)
  • many lies by official personnel
  • subtle threat to personal health of another
  • dishonesty of officials throughout

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 8 out of 100
  • homosexual snippet
  • innuendo re: male erection
  • innuendo re: intercourse
  • intercourse with nudity
  • pillow talk after intercourse nude in bed, repeatedly
  • making out in bed nude
  • adult in underwear, repeatedly
  • woman nude in bed the morning after
  • flash nudity - female
  • woman in button-up shirt only in man's apartment the morning after with partial posterior sometimes visible, repeatedly
  • man and woman in bed nude making out, repeatedly
  • male anatomical reference
  • innuendo re: size of male anatomy, repeatedly
  • innuendo re: size of female anatomy
  • lesbian snippet
  • cohabitation for sex, repeatedly
  • innuendo re: homosexuality, repeatedly

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 49 out of 100
  • booze, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • smoking, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
  • 9 uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and six without
  • gambling

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 83 out of 100
  • murder by incineration at the hands of a corrupt cop
  • unseen murder to silence

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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