I might have given it a 7 if I hadn't read the book first. It is impossible to critique this movie objectively after reading the far superior novel. The most obvious change is the move from the defendant being a tobacco company to a gun manufacturer. The story just doesn't translate. Tobacco companies are evil entities that spike their products with addictive drugs to keep people hooked for eternity; gun manufacturers aren't as guilty on the same level, sorry! My other main complaint is that the movie did not focus enough on the jury. Most of the story centred around Gene Hackman's villainous Rankin Fitch, a so-called jury consultant out to secure a verdict for the defendant at any cost. In fact, John Cusack, who gets top billing, probably gets the least screen time out of the four stars, which is too bad, because the story is really supposed to be about him. His character really amounts to nothing here, as the movie could have progressed pretty much without him. His effect on the jury is minimal, whereas in the book, Nicolas Easter really manipulated the other jurors to do exactly what he wanted all the time. I think they reduced his role so they could flesh out Dustin Hoffman's character more. Anyways, my only main problem that had nothing to do with the book is that it sometimes moved TOO fast. Some parts that would have been good dramatic scenes ended up being played as irritating visual and audio montages that would have confused me had I not known what was going on from reading the book first. However, Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman (especially Hoffman) give terrific performances. Hackman tends to remind me of a rabid badger, like someone who would go berserker on you and tear you to shreds with his claws if you approached him the wrong way, which is perfect for this role. Oh, sadly, the movie is not very good. I've seen all the John Grisham movies, and I'd say this one places worse than most: The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Rainmaker, and A Time To Kill. It was still better than The Client and The Chamber though.
|6/10||newscott13@ - 404 reviews|
19.10.2003 - age: 26-35
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