Theoretically this is a crime film, with different threads covering the procedural, accused POV, and various other sub-genres. But really it's a story about stories, specifically how powerful narratives can sweep away people's judgment and get them to destroy or save the lives of others. It really belongs in a category with other brutal story movies like Billy Wilder's Ace In The Hole, Wes Craven's New Nightmare, Nolan's Prestige, or the Mamet film of your choice.
The leads are great, but the supporting characters are what I end up remembering. Even the naked girl from the "Blurred Lines" video rules her scenes and masters both sides of a big character change. But it's Tyler Perry who just about steals the film as a wise cracking lawyer. I think he'll be pulling off the Jonah Hill trick of going in just one year from "Huh, they're having him present an Oscar? Well why not?" to "Of course they nominated him."
Kim Dickens also has a triumphant return to the big screen as a very smart police detective. She's been great on tv like Deadwood & Treme' but I'm glad to see her back in the medium she was so good in in the likes of Zero Effect.
Neal Patrick Harris does everything right, but unfortunately demonstrates that his star image may be too big for him to be a really believable movie character. He got the job done, even achieves chilling at times, but he can't sustain it and, insanely, loses a "disappear into the role"-off with Tyler Perry.
If you're in the mood to see horrible things happen to largely horrible people, this is the best way to do it.