A young man leaves Ireland with his landlord's daughter after some trouble with her father, and they dream of owning land at the big give-away in Oklahoma ca. 1893. When they get to the new... See full summary »
Mitch McDeere is a young man with a promising future in Law. About to sit his Bar exam, he is approached by 'The Firm' and made an offer he doesn't refuse. Seduced by the money and gifts showered on him, he is totally oblivious to the more sinister side of his company. Then, two Associates are murdered. The FBI contact him, asking him for information and suddenly his life is ruined. He has a choice - work with the FBI, or stay with the Firm. Either way he will lose his life as he knows it. Mitch figures the only way out is to follow his own plan... Written by
Mark Harding <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Can a thriller about lawyers thrill? Beware a plot filled with technical twists.
The Firm (1993)
The twist in the plot as you realize this Memphis law firm is not what it seems, and the rather innocent freshman lawyer played by Tom Cruise is slow to catch on, is the core of the movie, and a relief. It starts steadily, or slowly, depending on your patience, and in fact plays many scenes out in more detail than we need for a kind of bookish thriller. It's not a bad ride, and there are some further, minor twists, but it's not packed tightly enough, or frankly original enough, to lift its boots out of the sand.
Director Sydney Pollack, hugely successful as a director and actor, might have just had bad scriptwriting here by David Rabe, because John Grisham's book had proved itself. The acting is really solid (I'm no Cruise fan, but he's fine), but the characters are often doing things that just don't quite follow, or that are improbable or stupid. Or they end up doing something dangerous and the danger is either watered down or ridiculous. Examples that come to mind are how they show Cruise discovering or stealing or xeroxing files. We get the plot, but it lumbers along, or is just shown, not built up with suspense. The cinematographer takes a hit here, I think. Things are often nicely framed and routinely well done, but a thriller needs to hide some things, show some things, create ambiance and mystery, and so on, visually. It doesn't really happen.
So, for a kind of technical high-stakes, rich person's good-guy bad-guy suspense film, it will get you through, but barely. By the last five minutes, if you aren't sucked in, you'll want to scream "hurry up!"
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