Projections - Movie Reviews

Runaway Jury

Runaway Jury has to be one of the best films about tampering with the U.S. legal system.  With its classic style and crisp editing combined with exceptional performanances from an A list cast you can not help but be captivated.

Set in modern day New Orleans and based on the novel of the same name from John Grisham this is a story of jury tampering with a great many twists.  The case in point is if a gun maker should be held responsible for the rampage style killings of an estranged worker of a stockbrokerage.  The prize as it would be is a multimillion dollar lawsuit and the opening of the preverbal door for many to follow.

Retained by the gun maker is jury consultant Rankin Fitch (Gene Hackman) who will do anything to see his client wins including finding skeletons in juror’s closets and then persuading them to vote in his favor.  In stark contrast is Wendall Rohr (Dustin Hoffman) the attorney for the widow of the killings whose belief in the law for laws sake is a bit naïve.

Poised for what seems to be a very one sided trial, with what Fitch has on members of the jury a not guilty verdict is almost assured; until Nick Easter (John Cusack) finds his way onto the jury and sets up his own little extortion attempt.  Marlee (Rachael Weisz) is Nick's outside accomplice who negotiates huge dollars to deliver the top bidders verdict.

While Rohr struggles with his conscience and Fitch tries to simply eliminate Easter and Marlee, the true purpose of this jury hijacking is cleverly kept secret.

Hackman delivers a character we’ve seen hundreds of times before but this time with a twist of satire and humor.  Convincing to say the very least.  For this character, winning is the ONLY thing of importance and anything faintly relating to morals is simply another toll to use against the competition.

Though Hoffman's character Rohr has a much smaller role here, the conflict present between good and bad is tangible.  You will remember the bathroom scene between Rohr and Fitch as a true idealistic plea for decency and justice versus manipulation and greed.

The most interesting character is played by Cusack who has matured into a solid leading man who can control a scene with what appears to be little or no effort.  Absent from the big screen for some time now, look for Cusack to get better roles soon.

Reminiscent of films of old, Weisz delivers a sexy yet commanding performance similar to that of her role in Confidence (this is no Mummy and positively not tongue in cheek) you know when she is on screen.

In recap, see this one soon as the big screen brings a true feel to this drama and be prepared to be challenged both morally and philosophically throughout Runaway Jury.

Runaway Jury

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