Slick, with a sharp script that harbors a couple of weak spots, and standout perfs from Alice Krige and Brian Dennehy, “Indefensible: The Truth About Edward Brannigan” is a mouthful of a title but a sensitive study of the breakdown of archaic gender roles and date rape.
Effusive, successful and philanthropic, Eddie Brannigan (Dennehy) is at the top of his game as an attorney and community leader. He’s healed a relationship with lawyer son Eddie Jr. (Reed Diamond), making him a partner in his firm, and life looks good.
Eddie Sr. meets Rebecca (Alice Krige) at a cocktail party, and sparks fly. He invites Rebecca to a dinner party at his home, and as the guests depart, Eddie Sr. and Rebecca get comfy on the couch.
The couple begin to smooch and take things a little further, but when Rebecca asks Eddie Sr. to stop, he becomes aggressive: She calls it rape, he calls it his right.
Rebecca files charges. Eddie Jr., who is a Big Brother to Rebecca’s child, can’t believe what’s being leveled at his dad, until a talk with bitter mom and Eddie Sr.’s ex, played by Lynn Redgrave, reveals damning info.
The script by Joe Cacaci explores the ambiguity of prosecuting date rape and thoroughly comes down on the side of “No mean no.” It also delves into the generational changes in male attitudes toward women by using Eddie Sr. and Jr. as mouthpieces.
Dennehy plays the ambitious, get-it-all, take-it-all Eddie Sr. with depth and aplomb, and directs with a brisk, sure pace.
Krige’s nuanced perf grounds the telepic with emotion, and Diamond handles the confusion and emotional breakthroughs of Eddie Jr. comfortably, although a little mildly.
Rodney Charters’ lush camera work and Rex Raglan’s production design add to the crispness of the package.