Rated: R For language and violence. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: June 30, 1993 Released by: Paramount Pictures Corporation
Out of all the blockbusters due out this summer, I was looking forward to this one with the greatest anticipation. John Grisham's best selling novel was a well written, tense thriller with a terrifically idealistic young hero, and Tom Cruise fits the role to a tee.
Mitch (Cruise) MccDeere, a Harvard law graduate at the top of his class is hotly pursued by many prestigious law firms, but the one that snags him is a small but important Memphis-based firm that attracts Mitch with a big salary, new Mercedes and low interest loan on a house. Sound too good to be true? That's exactly what Mitch's wife Abby (Jeanne Tripplehorn - Basic Instinct) thinks. She's leery about the probing interest the law partners seem to take in their associates' private lives. The lure of a prosperous career wins out, and they pack up their U-Haul and dog and head for Memphis.
Once settled in, Mitch discovers accidentally from a law partner, Avery Tolar (played by Gene Hackman, who gets to show off his spectacularly wicked gin to excess), that their biggest client is a Chicago Mafia group that uses the firm to launder their drug money. Mitch also finds out after a couple of unfortunate accidents involving other law partners, that once you're in the firm, you never can leave it.
Sidney Pollack directs a topnotch cast. Wilfred Brimley plays a sinister head of security; Ed Harris is a relentless FBI agent looking into the firm's shady dealings; Hal Holbrook is a stern company man; Gary Busey plays a maniac ex-con, private-eye, and Holly Hunter is a sassy, smart redheaded secretary. But, it's Hackman who stands out. His role as the jaded Toler, who gave up his private life for his loyalty to the firm is corrupt, but he also makes him very sympathetic.
The action jumps from the lavish law office to the Cayman Island where incriminating files are stored in the firm's condo. The plot also jumps around and without such a tightly written script would have been impossible to follow.
Fans of Grisham's book might b disappointed that the ending has been rewritten, but the story is still interesting, the action exciting and the acting is super.