Shortly after chopping Archbishop Rushman’s fingers off, the intruder continues to brutally beat him and toss him into one window after another before carving the mysterious reference “B32.156” across his chest.
Aaron (Edward Norton), covered in blood from head to toe, sprints through an acre and a half of woods, runs parallel to the set of train tracks on the other side, and dashes across the tracks which the oncoming locomotive is traveling.
Cut off from the ten or more uniform officers and detectives from the city of Chicago trying to run him down, Aaron’s desire to escape no longer surges through him. Exhausted and no longer willing to play the hunted, he curls up under the bridge in a fetal position before Chicago’s finest find him.
Why would this shy and quiet kid, this choir boy, beat and carve up the archbishop? Prosecutor, Janet Venable (Laura Linney) doesn’t care why, she just knows Aaron was found with Rushman’s blood all over him and they’re determined to get him the death penalty.
Aaron tells high powered lawyer Martin Vail (Richard Gere)--who takes Aaron’s case pro bono--he doesn’t know how the Archbishop’s blood got all over him and he definitely didn’t kill anyone.
Vail is convinced of Aaron’s innocence, and when Aaron’s good friend Roy helps Vail better understand the life from which his friend, Aaron Stampler hails, it’s the key to Vail’s victory and prosecutor Venable’s demise, but it’s also Aaron’s future and well-being that come into question.
Also Starring Alfre Wooodard, Jon Seda, Maura Tierney and Andre Braugher.