Who is the Narrator of Above Suspicion?

The crime-thriller film ‘Above Suspicion’ tells the true story-inspired tale of Susan Smith, a drug addict struggling to make ends meet as she becomes embroiled in a love affair with Mark Putnam, an FBI Agent, while working for him as an informant. Director Phillip Noyce uses a narrator to frame the narrative in a tragically dramatic tone. The tumultuous and explorative relationship between Smith and Putnam is presented from a narrator’s perspective, who often adds insight into the main character’s decisions. Therefore, viewers must wonder who is the narrator of  ‘Above Suspicion.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

Who Narrates the Movie?

‘Above Suspicion’ follows Susan Smith, a young woman who is divorced from her husband, Cash. She has two children and lives with her ex-husband in their shared house. Susan’s life changes after she meets FBI Agent Mark Putnam, who is assigned to the FBI office in Pikeville, Kentucky. Putnam hires Susan as a confidential informant to help him catch an armed robber committing crimes in Pike County, Kentucky. Soon, Susan and Putnam start a love affair, and their relationship turns sexual after Susan helps Putnam catch the thief, Joe B. However, the film is told through a first-person perspective, and most of the scenes are accompanied by a narration that provides uniformity to the overarching narrative.

The film’s protagonist, Susan Smith, is also the story’s primary narrator. In the movie, actress Emilia Clarke plays the role of Susan Smith. Clarke is best known for portraying Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO fantasy series ‘Game of Thrones. ‘ Her other credits include films such as ‘Terminator Genisys,’ ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ and the romance films ‘Me Before You’ and ‘Last Christmas.’ In ‘Above Suspicion,’ Clarke is also the story’s narrator as the movie is told through her character’s perspective. In the film’s opening scene, the narrator reveals they are dead before we start following Susan and her daily life. Eventually, Susan is killed by Mark Putnam, bringing her story to a conclusion.

In the film, Susan narrates the story from beyond the grave as her dead body is received in the opening minutes. However, during the climax, we see two perspectives of Susan’s demise. In Putnam’s description of Susan’s death, he explains that an argument between him led to accidentally killing Susan by strangling her while trying to calm her down. However, in Susan’s version of the events, she is killed by Putnam in cold blood.

The opposite perspectives during the climax help elevate the controversial nature of the real events that inspired the movie’s story. Since most of what is known about Susan and Putnam’s affair and the former’s death comes from Putnam and other witnesses, the film subverts expectations by presenting the narrative from Susan’s perspective. Hence, viewers get the feeling of witnessing the unheard side of Susan’s story, especially during the moments leading up to her death. However, it is important to note that the film is a fictionalization of a true story, and Susan’s narration has heavy dramatization.

Read More: Above Suspicion Ending, Explained