Movie Plot - Primal Fear
Martin Vail is a Chicago defense attorney who loves the spotlight, and does everything that he can to get his high-profile clients acquitted on legal technicalities. One day he sees a news report about the arrest of Aaron Stampler, a 19-year-old altar boy from Kentucky with a severe stutter, who is accused of brutally murdering the beloved Archbishop Rushman. Vail jumps at the chance to represent the young man, pro bono. During his meetings at the County jail with Stampler, Vail comes to believe that his client is innocent, much to the chagrin of Vail's former lover, prosecutor Janet Venable.
As the trial begins, Vail discovers that powerful civic leaders, including the corrupt state's attorney John Shaughnessy, recently lost millions of dollars in real estate investments due to Rushman's decision not to develop on church-owned lands. Rushman secretly received numerous death threats as a result. Following a tip from a former altar boy about a videotape involving Stampler, Vail makes a search of the Archbishop's apartment and finds a VHS tape shot by Rushman that shows Stampler being sexually abused with another teenage altar boy and a teenage girl named Linda Forbes. Vail is now in a dilemma: introducing this evidence would make Stampler more sympathetic to the jury, but it would also give him a motive for the murder—which Venable has been unable to establish.
When Vail confronts his client and accuses him of having lied, Stampler breaks down crying and suddenly transforms into a new persona: a...