In this dramatic courtroom thriller, LT Daniel Kaffee, a Navy lawyer who has never seen the inside of the courtroom, defends two stubborn Marines who have been accused of murdering a colleague. Kaffee is known as being lazy and had arranged for a plea bargain. Downey's Aunt Ginny appoints Cmdr. Galloway to represent him. Also on the legal staff is LTJG Sam Weinberg. The team rounds up many facts and Kaffee is discovering that he is really cut out for trial work. The defense is originally based upon the fact that PFC Santiago, the victim, was given a "CODE RED". Santiago was basically a screw-up. At Gitmo, screw-ups aren't tolerated. Especially by Col. Nathan Jessup. In Cuba, Jessup and two senior officers try to give all the help they can, but Kaffee knows something's fishy. In the conclusion of the film, the fireworks are set off by a confrontation between Jessup and Kaffee. Written by
Matt Curtolo <email@example.com>
Sections of this film are used by the Air Force Judge Advocate training school at Maxwell AFB, AL, as training tools. In particular, the citing of Article 39A of the Uniform Code of Military Justice ("the witness has rights"), excusing the members (aka the jury) from viewing technical or procedural matters, and various other aspects of court-martial procedures. Particularly, the unrealistic nature of the court-martial itself is often lampooned by instructors. See more »
Kaffee is a Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2) after being in the Navy for nine months. A JAG officer who is a direct commissionee comes in the military as an O-2 and is promoted within six months. After nine months, Kaffee certainly would be a Lieutenant (O-3). See more »
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Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson bring some seriously stellar performances to the table in this legal drama.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore This movie is for people who like lawyerly stuff and military type stuff. This movie is an episode of Jag on crack. This movie was made by Rob Reiner. Really, after that last statement, need I say more? If you didn't know that Rob Reiner did The Princess Bride, then hang your head in shame now.
It starts out in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when a couple marines enter the room of another marine, stuff a rag down his throat, duct tape his mouth shut, duct tape his hands behind his back, duct tape his legs together, and so on. Then the credits roll and we cut to D.C., where we find out that the marine getting gagged and tied died that night. The two marines that were doing the gagging and tying are charged with murder and flown out to D.C.
The task of lead counsel is assigned to Daniel Kaffee (Cruise), a lieutenant junior grade with a track record for plea bargaining and smooth talking. Lt. Cmdr. Jo Galloway (Moore) is assigned to be co-counsel, despite the fact that she tried to get in as lead counsel. They start the investigation down in Cuba where they meet Col. Nathan Jessup (Nicholson), the man who ordered the two men to give Private Santiago the Code Red, which accidentally led to his death. Of course, Jessup doesn't tell this to Danny or Jo. Why would he? He'd look pretty bad for it, right? So when they get back to D.C. and do some legal maneuvering with their clients and the prosecution, Danny manages to get a deal for a mere two years of prison time, where they are actually home in six months. And the two that are charged turn it down on principle, because they still believe they have done nothing wrong. Danny decides that he wants to get a different lawyer assigned to the case because he doesn't want to go down with them, but then has a change of heart after talking to a few people and thinking about it.
So the trial starts, and that's when the movie really picks up speed. The skill that Danny has as he strides around the courtroom asking all the right questions and probing in just the right ways is phenomenal. It almost makes you want to be a lawyer.
There are some major setbacks along the way, some things go right, a lot more go wrong, but eventually everything turns out okay in the end. But like so many movies where we know how it's going to end, it was never really the ending we were banking on, but the fun of getting there.
Bottom Line: 4 out of 4 (own this movie)
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