The Firm (1993) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
149 Reviews
Sort by:
An excellent legal thriller. One of Tom Cruise's best performances.
Michael DeZubiria14 March 2001
In The Firm, Tom Cruise plays an extremely intelligent young lawyer who takes a job with a tremendous firm, having been seduced by their huge financial offerings. "The Firm" begins to sound very creepy very early in the film, when it becomes known that `the firm' has never had a divorce, `the firm' encourages children,' `the firm' is a big, happy, 41 member family. Unfortunately, it seems that another interesting little side note is that no one has ever left `the firm' and lived.

Mitch McDeere (Cruise) is hired by `the firm,' and at first, everything is great. The firm loves him enough to pay back all of his student loans all at once, and he is completely taken in by everything, even down to the way that the firm furnished his new house, in his beautiful new neighborhood (`To make you feel at home. Hope you don't mind.'). The lives of Mitch and his wife Abby (Jeanne Triplehorn) are completely and drastically changed when he is hired by the firm, setting up a disorienting atmosphere, especially when strange things start happening, people getting killed by boat bombs and whatnot.

Gary Busey plays a small, seedy role, and it works really well because he's best at playing seedy characters. Ed Harris also delivers a good performance as an FBI agent trying to coerce McDeere into helping them investigate the big bad firm. It seems that McDeere has been helping the firm in its illegal activities, making him guilty without him even knowing about it. If he doesn't help the FBI, he'll go to jail with the other 40 members of that big, happy family.

The Firm really gets going once McDeere starts trying to investigate, making copies of incriminating files, etc. Some things may have gone a little too far, like the conveniently placed pillow truck, but as a whole, The Firm is a great thriller. It may not be quite as good as other John Grisham adaptations, The Rainmaker, in particular, but The Firm's complex and fascinating plot, as well as good direction and acting, makes it way above average.
82 out of 94 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Joining a law firm from hell can be detrimental to your health...
Neil Doyle5 May 2001
All the elements to make a hard-hitting melodrama of corruption (with FBI and Mafia aspects present) are unfolded here in a gripping yarn from John Grisham's novel. Tom Cruise is excellent as a young man who joins a small but prosperous law firm, only to discover that all the perks he enjoys come at great expense to his integrity, not to mention his life. The plot thickens when members of the firm are murdered and Cruise gets drawn into the unmasking of the firm, risking his life to reveal the criminals. Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter and Hal Holbrook all give strong performances, with Hunter fully deserving her Oscar nomination. The pacing is good despite the film's length (well over 2 1/2 hrs.) and there's seldom a dull moment. Especially gripping is the supercharged climax.

Not having read the book, I see where others are disappointed with the ending. Having no comparison to make, I can only say that it kept me absorbed until the final scene. Definitely a must-see if you enjoy action thrillers with a climactic punch. One of the best films of the '90s, full of suspenseful twists and turns.
40 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Complex Suspense-Drama
ccthemovieman-118 March 2006
This is a long (154 minutes) but pretty solid drama-suspense story about corporate corruption. The film features a well-known cast, and as soon as the action kicks in this becomes a very tense story.

Tom Cruise is very good as the hotshot lawyer, as is Jeanne Tripplehorn who plays his unhappy wife. This is a complex story at times, one not always easily understood, especially the ending. So much is explained so fast at the end it's tough to comprehend it all.

Wilfred Brimley, Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook, Holly Hunter, Robert Strathairn and Ed Harris all make this a really deep, impressive cast. For more details of the story, check some of the other reviews.
37 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Lawyer/Client Privilege
bkoganbing30 June 2007
Tom Cruise, the All American kid from the trailer park who worked his way through Harvard Law School, just got the dream job with a prestigious white shoe law firm in Memphis, Tennessee. Sounds like he's on his way to the top with wife Jeanne Tripplehorn. But it turns out to be a nightmare.

This Firm's main client is a Chicago crime family and they launder the mob's money. Now the FBI in the persons of fatherly Steven Hill and hard-nosed Ed Harris are squeezing Cruise to infiltrate and get incriminating information. That would result in disbarment for violating lawyer/client privilege. And The Firm isn't a gang of boy scouts either. They're not above a little blackmail and entrapment and they've got a security man in Wilford Brimley who's real good at it.

How Tom Cruise gets out of this rock and a hard place situation is the plot of The Firm. Sydney Pollak gave him one stylish cast in support and everyone of them delivers. Even players like Gary Busey, Hal Holbrook, Gene Hackman, take essentially supporting roles because this film was a guaranteed blockbuster. All of John Grisham's novels have their own built in audience, The Firm is no exception. I do remember my mother was a devoted reader of his work, whereas I always await the film version.

Holly Hunter got an Oscar nomination for her small role as private detective Gary Busey's secretary and girl Friday. When Hunter witnesses Busey's murder without the hit men knowing it, she sets the wheels in motion for the downfall of the bad guys. Hunter got nominated for Best Actress for The Piano and Best Supporting Actress for The Firm, a most unusual occurrence. She won for The Piano in 1993, but lost the Supporting Actress Award to her co-star in The Piano, Anna Paquin. Winning both would have just been a bit too much for the Academy voters.

The Firm has a far fetched plot to be sure in the way that Tom Cruise brings them all down. Still that's the charm of it. It's almost Hitchcockian in its pace and mood, and even more resembles the Mission Impossible television series in the way it's all brought off. Small wonder that Tom Cruise was chosen to star in the big screen adaptations of that television classic.

When I watch The Firm, I'm reminded of that line from another television classic that one Hannibal Smith used to say about he loved it when a plan comes together. That's what you will like about The Firm.
21 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Can a thriller about lawyers thrill? Beware a plot filled with technical twists.
secondtake25 May 2010
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!"
12 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Better than the book! (*and possible spolier!*)
smee346931 May 2001
I read "The Firm" after watching it, not knowing what expect (I didn't know if it would be a tight or loose adaptation). It was pretty close, with the difference mainly lying in the ending, and that where Sydney Pollack makes this story go from good to great: The book, at the end, makes Mitch out to be a coward and a traitor at the end, by making him give into the FBI. But, in the film, Mitch is seen as a hero who doesn't give into anyone. The FBI doesn't win and the Mafia doesn't win. Mitch wins. He bows down to no one. Tom Cruise also plays a *great* Mitch McDeere, with a lot of intensity and charisma. You cheer for him as the protagonist. Holly Hunter is top-notch with her portrayal of the vulnerable, secretary turned accomplice Tammy. Gene Hackman is also great as Avery Tolar, the one bad guy who sympathizes with Mitch and Abby. Such a great screen presence. His scenes while they're in the Kaymen Islands are key ones to watch. Jeanne Tripplehorn finally makes up for her role in "Basic Instinct" as Abby McDeere, the "cheated wife", not only by her husband, but also by the firm he works for. Sydney Pollack showcases some of his best work as director, especially by the opening segment that describes Mitch McDeere perfectly in the span of less than 10 minutes.

Such a GREAT adaptation, and a even better film to watch!
22 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The far-fetched law firm from hell!
NGB5 June 1999
Though not the best of the Grisham adaptations, this is up to the usual high standard in plot and stars that Grisham movies have become associated with. The plot on this one is a little more far-fetched probably on account of the fact that this was one of Grisham's first works, escapism and entertainment seem to be the most prominent here, other Grisham works had begun to develop other traits alongside populism, like being almost topical and seeming to make social comment on issues that Grisham must have had an inside eye on when he was actually involved in the legal business for all those years. The Rainmaker is a great example of this when a young lawyer takes on a pro bono case of a widow's suit against a rogue insurance company that wouldn't pay up on a claim for her son's illness, and who as a result died from it. You will find none of this in the Firm, it is the straightforward story of a young lawyer whose life becomes entangled in the law firm from hell, which has all the usual mafia connections and all the usual FBI hardball characters battling with the caricatures from the Mafia. It does however make great entertainment , you will soon forget how far-fetched and improbable it all is, as you will become instantly fascinated, and stick with 155 minutes of plot twists and turns.
39 out of 52 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Alternate Screenplay
thebaldguy8 November 2003
I wanted to get a copy of the screenplay to compare the movie with the dialog and directions, but initially received the FIRST draft by David Rabe. I finally got the shooting script later. All I can say is that it ended with Mc Deere blowing away all the partners in a restaurant with an AK-47. It really made me appreciate the re-write by David Rayfiel and Robert Towne. I have watched this movie many times and enjoy the suspense, romance, and Grusin's solo piano score, which always blows me away. But the one thing that impressed me most with multiple viewing, is how Gene Hackman really makes the movie work. His portrayal of this corrupt, but incredably likeable character is the one thread that holds the movie together for me and goes down as one of his most memorable acting performances.
17 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Nice performances, clotted plot
Robert J. Maxwell4 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
You really can't fault any of the performers here. Tom Cruise has a boyish high-school handsomeness and an unthinkingly naive demeanor to go with it. Jeanne Triplehorn has big dark soulful eyes and does and says what she's supposed to. But the lesser actors are the more interesting. And they are here in droves. Gene Hackman, the late What's-his-name Viterelli (I can only think of him as "Jelly" in "Analyze This"), Holly Hunter looking sexy and sassy, a hypomanic Gary Busey who, when capable of it, really delivers, Paul Sorvino who underplays (honest), Hal Holbrook and Wilfred Brimley being nasty, poor Tobin Bell as the albino who must have played a dozen hit men and mass murderers by now, Ed Harris now with a completely shaved head, Terry Kinney as the pale blond nice guy who conceals his demons, and Steven Hill as a ruthless FBI man.

The performances and the locations make this worth a dekko. This ought to be Sidney Pollack's turf alright -- corruption in a law firm and illegal activities by the authorities, the kind of polluted panorama that he often finds appealing. But somehow it doesn't come off. I haven't read John Grisham's book but it's hard to believe the plot could be as complicated as this movie. There were times when I was completely lost, especially towards the end when the firm begins to unravel and the chases and breathless phone calls start.

Probably the most interesting character's is Gene Hackman's crooked but very human lawyer. His scenes with Tripplehorn are really quite good, his hesitations, awkward silences, embarrassed chuckles, and vapid smiles. His last scene with her, as he lies half drugged in bed, is outstanding.

The ending is hard to swallow. Cruise gives the Feds just enough legal information to put the bad guys away for several years, based on the fact that the firm overbilled its clients and used the post office to do it, which is a federal offense. A clever move on the part of Cruise but I had a hard time visualizing these murdering wealthy perps doing any jail time. I mean, for what? For sending a client a bill that charged too much? That would put my plumber in jail, my doctor, my shrink, and a strange porno web site that I once unwittingly subscribed to -- but these guys? Nope. Even if they were convicted, I see Dershowitz handling the appeal
25 out of 35 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
firmly implanted
Lee Eisenberg3 July 2006
When "The Firm" came out was - believe it or not - the first time that I had ever heard of Tom Cruise (although I didn't see the movie until several years later). And let me tell you, this was a great introduction. Cruise plays novice lawyer Mitch McDeere, who goes to work for a Memphis firm. With this firm, he has everything that anyone could want. But there's the question: why does everything seem so perfect? The answer lies in the firm's unseemly other side. And they're not just going to let Mitch blow their cover.

Sydney Pollack pulled off everything perfectly here. It's sort of like an Ira Levin novel how everything plays out. You may be suspicious of everything after seeing this movie. Above all, it shows that Tom Cruise can actually do a good job when he tries. Also starring Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook, Wilford Brimley, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, David Strathairn and Gary Busey.

It's hard to believe that this was the first movie adaptation of a John Grisham novel.
12 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A law thriller that will please everyone
Patryk Czekaj7 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I always assumed that no movie based on John Grisham's books can be boring. Why? Because all of them include the most gripping and thrilling stories ever. And it can't be denied that one of their most amazing aspects is that they are perfectly fitted to be adapted onto the big screen.

I wanted to watch this film since the time that I have finished reading The Firm, this amazing book, which turned Grisham into a world class writer. I craved for more of its pure excellence. I just needed to see Sydney Pollack's vision. And I am so happy to say right now that he certainly didn't let me down.

Tom Cruise, still in his early days of glory, is an ideal Mitch McDeere, the young, ambitious and somehow innocent young lawyer. The man just passed the bar exam and started looking for a job. And then he found what he thought was a perfect opportunity for a well-paid job of his dreams. Unfortunately, this all seemed a bit too good to be totally legit and risk-free. But, at the time, who could tell that this particular firm is controlled by a group of dangerous Mafia thugs?

This is the moment when the fun starts. The fast-paced sequences begin to roll. The viewer starts to uncover one secret after another of the overly corrupted Bendini, Lambert & Locke law firm. The suspense is heightening with every scene and that is what makes you concentrated all the time. You simply don't want to miss any part of the action. And I can assure everybody, it won't stop until the last minute.

This is what makes the movie so similar to the book - you just can't stop till you know the whole story all the way through.

Of course they had to do some rewrites and cut out some of the scenes and subplots (even though the movie is still relatively long). This is probably why the movie seems a bit chaotic at times. Also, I didn't like what the did with the ending, it should have stayed as it was described in the book.

On another topic, I love the way that all of the great supporting characters build up the plot. And the stars that play them. One of the most memorable cameos of this movie must be the one made by Gary Busey.

The only person that really didn't convince me was Jeanne Tripplehorn. I pictured Mitch's wife very differently - let's just say she seemed more beautiful and appealing in my mind. However, that still didn't stop Gene Hackman's character as he tried to seduce her in the most adorable way (one of the best scenes in my opinion).

Even though I found the book more exciting than the movie, I still highly recommend it for its ever-occurring suspense and the atmosphere that causes shivers on the back. You won't find many law thrillers like this one for sure - except maybe for other Grisham masterpieces.

4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The movie was just as good as the book and had great acting.
dlsperl20 October 2013
This movie was very good. I saw it after reading the book and was not disappointed. Tom Cruise had a decent performance, but I felt the performances of Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook, and Wilford Brimley were especially great and put this film above most similar movies.

Brimley has never to my knowledge had a role similar to this before and he was excellent. I had not really been impressed with his acting but in this movie I definitely was.

The suspense flowed naturally and never seemed forced just to fill time. The music score was very good. The variety of settings (first Cambridge, MA, then Memphis, TN, then the Caribbean) made it more interesting, too.

I have seen it twice..once on the big screen and once on video. The book was also very good.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
has some quibbles that can't be overlooked but it does entertain
Special-K8829 February 2012
Mitch McDeere is a brilliant young law student, happily married husband, and—despite some shady family ties—has a bright, ambitious future in the legal community. About to graduate from Harvard in the top five of his class, he agrees to join Bendini, Lambert & Locke, a prestigious Memphis law firm that makes him an offer he can't refuse. All of his dreams seem to be coming true, but he quickly learns that his new firm isn't as virtuous as it seems. Based on the novel by John Grisham the film benefits from interesting characters brought to life by an excellent cast, and it effectively builds an atmosphere of suspense and intrigue, but they're marred by the film's long running time, an odd (and inappropriate) score, and a third act that runs around before finally arriving at a resolution that's much too pat. Highly watchable, but only if you can accept the obvious flaws. **½
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A great suspense thriller
arthurclay2 January 2005
This movie was the movie that finally drove the fact home to me that Tom Cruise was a good actor and pushed him to the front of the line. The casting was really really great and the plot was first rate. Cruise is a fresh out of college law student named Mitch with a pretty new wife who is dreaming of becoming a successful and big name lawyer. So as any other graduate he is sending out resumes and getting offers from different firms. But one firm from Memphis, Tennessee gives him an offer he can't refuse. It seems like a small homegrown firm that is very wealthy and prosperous and prides itself on being the best. But this isn't any ordinary law firm. It's a "Family" with a history of partners having premature deaths and now Mitch is part of it. And he can't get out. Not alive anyways. So Mitch has to find a way out without joining the list of expired former associates. Gene Hackman in this is incredibly, stunningly, unbelievably great. His character quickly becomes Cruise's mentor. He is an unhappy, alcoholic, womanizing ambulance chaser (albeit an highly powerful and prosperous one) who also cannot escape either and is the linchpin in the unfolding drama that Cruise and Tripplehorn find themselves square in the middle of. Hackman is the one you should despise and dislike right from the beginning but you can't even if you try very hard because he is a likable person and you know he is in serious trouble which makes you emphasize with him right from the get go. My favorite Grisham book adaptation it made him a household name to this very day. Also features appearances by Paul Sorvino, Gary Busey, and Holly Hunter.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
an intelligent triller!
giadeste16 February 2002
An excellent triller in which intelligence is more important than guns or violence in winning against an enemy much more stronger! Tom Cruise during the movie is able to loose his "brave-kid" face and Gene Hackman is very clever as usual
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Riveting thriller with great acting
MovieDood25 November 2001
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw 'The Firm' just because it sounded interesting. What I didn't know, though, was that I was in for quite a treat! I enjoyed every minute of this intense thriller, from the beginning until the surprise ending (though I'm tempted to tell what happens, I'll let you find out for yourself!). I tell a bit of the story here, so it is possible they may be regarded as **SPOILERS**, so if you don't want to know anything about the movie, STOP READING.

Tom Cruise shows off one of his best performances as Mitch McDeere, the formally poor boy who goes off to Harvard Law School and graduates cume laude. He goes to many prestigious firms, all of whom want him real bad. One firm, though, Bendini, Lambert, and Locke, strikes his interest. In return for joining, he gets $100,000 per year, and a shiny new Mercedes. He accepts, and he and his wife, Abby (Jeanne Tripplehorn), fly to Memphis, where they get a nice house, with most of it payed for by the firm. The story unfolds, and through the course of events, Mitch learns the dark truth about his firm. . .

The acting is superb in this film. Tom Cruise's performance reminds me of his in 'A Few Good Men'; strong and realistic. Jeanne Tripplehorn is a pleasure to watch as his wife Abby. Gene Hackman plays a surprisingly sympathetic role as a partner in the firm. Holly Hunter (who received an Oscar-nomination for her role) is almost humorous as a southern-twanged secretary-turned victim-turned accomplice. Ed Harris brings his usual fine acting style as an FBI agent, and veteran actor Hal Holbrook plays a grandfatherly lawyer more evil than his attitude would imply. Sydney Pollack's directing is radiant, and the single piano score by Dave Grusin can be both calm and content, then become fast and furious.

In conclusion, 'The Firm' is a fun, fresh thriller, and it should be enjoyed for years to come.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
OK movie but not as good as the book
triple812 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
The movie The Firm was OK but really cannot compare to the book. There were a few things that were very different and many parts played like one long action sequence. The book is a masterpiece and although the movie is certainly watchable it is a bit dull at times. The book existed on incredible tension, drama and great dialogue. It was simply riveting all the way through. The movie was less like a drama/psychological thriller and more, at times, like an (action movie?).

There was nothing wrong with Cruise as Mc.Deere. He looks like what I'd picture Mitch to look like anyway from the book. But I am baffled as to why this was not left alone and done exactly as the book was. After all, the book was a major success-there's gotta be a reason.

Gristham is such an amazing story teller that I don't know if this could have been successfully adapted to a movie but as movie thrillers go it wasn't at all dreadful but was just alright. But Just lacked a certain something and I gotta say it again, it would have been better to stick to the book (exactly). The changes they made in the movie didn't work.(won't give any spoilers.) Also to many corny chase scenes substituting for real suspense that was so prevalent in the book. only slightly above average movie-READ GRISTHAM'S BOOK-MUCH BETTER!
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
My personal fav ... bar none.
dragonslayor16 September 2000
My all-time top-rated film; this one has it all. The characters, not just the leads, are real and substantive. Hackman almost steals the show. Cruise takes you with him as a young comer with the world before him: brains, energy, confidence, a beautiful wife (Tripplehorn, who is gorgeous, sensuous, supportive and yet strongly her own person), and a dream job. Cruise and Tripplehorn sizzle throughout the movie, but never more so than in the penultimate scene when he repeatedly asks "Have I lost you?" Her answer simply melts the heart.

The writing is of course superb, and, although the ending, different from the book, has been criticized, I found it an amazing extrication from a situation which compels the viewer to believe is hopeless. You want the stars to somehow escape their continually worsening plight - both within their personal lives together and with the evil external forces that have ensnared them, and the movie ending does not disappoint.

Disappointing, however are the last few moments, which are disjointed and seem to belong to another movie. It amazes me that something better could not have been done. It could only have been worse had our heros ridden into a sunset to the strumming of a western guitar ...
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Firm
Coxer9926 April 1999
Most entertaining of the John Grisham works made into film. There is a great pace, set perfectly by director Pollack and star Cruise. There is great support from a huge ensemble cast with Hackman being especially impressive as Cruise's womanizing associate. Hunter was Oscar nominated.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Pollack at his best
juancarlos.recalde18 January 2000
This is really one of the most interesting movies if ever seen. But not only because of the great acting from Tom Cruise. The greatest thing about this movie is the Oscar-nomminated O.S.T. by Dave Grusin. Really genius. The story is intelligent, basing on a novel by John Grisham, and really exciting. Go and see the movie, you'll really love it!
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Painful adaptation of Grisham's page-turner
mnpollio19 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
John Grisham fairly burst on the scene with the very definition of a page-turner in the legal thriller The Firm. His novel is slick, manipulative, undeniably fast-paced and suspenseful. Keep those last two terms in mind, because fast-paced and suspenseful can never be ascribed to the stillborn, ponderous mess that Sydney Pollack perpetrates on the viewer.

The storyline centers on idealistic young attorney Tom Cruise, who joins a prestigious Southern law firm that ends up having ties to organized crime and begins to take control of his life. The novel details the dawning realization and horror that the attorney and his wife face when it is discovered that they are basically owned by The Firm and their lives are in danger should they ever step out of line. The film details pretty much the same story with some rather wrong-headed derivations and devoid of any tensions or excitement.

The cast is par excellence. There is not even a minor role not inhabited by a first-rate actor. Cruise is ideally cast as the attorney. Gene Hackman is reliable as his mentor at the firm. Unfortunately, of the remaining cast, only Holly Hunter makes much of an impression as a canny private detective's secretary who ends up helping the lead couple. Jeanne Tripplehorn spends much of the film looking constipated as Cruise's wife. The film offers her a mid-way revelation that results in her spending an obscene amount of time moping on a set of swings. The various shady characters at the firm that instilled such fear and distrust in the novel are inhabited on screen by a diversity of non-threatening, retirement age actors - like Hal Holbrook. And to play the terrifying head of security and enforcer of the firm - the man that no one wants to mess with - Pollack casts Wilford Brimley - the avuncular grandfather figure from the oat bran commercials. Apparently Pollack was going for irony, but it blows up in his face. There is something to be said when Ed Harris' relatively sympathetic FBI agent comes off as more of a threat than the assassins dogging Cruise. With the likes of Holbrook and Brimley out to get him, Cruise just has to rev up to a hearty shuffle in order to avoid them.

The pace is the film's worst problem. It is stagnant from start to finish. There is literally no stretch of excitement in the entire film based on a novel that was swimming in it. Part of the issue is that Pollack seems to think the story is of biblical importance and needs to be portrayed with unflagging solemnity - in short, he is too good to stoop to a thrill. The film is tragically overlong and easily feels like triple the length it is. Anything that was remotely exciting from the novel has been removed or depicted in such a painfully tedious fashion lest one break a sweat.

Even worse, changes made in the story and the outcome in particular make no sense. The true evil of the firm was actually the organized crime syndicate that it fronted for. In the film, the organized crime syndicate is depicted as almost a neutral figure that can be won over by Cruise's reasoning and savvy, while the firm itself it depicted as the ultimate evil (HUH?). We never truly feel that Cruise and Tripplehorn are ever in any serious danger and that, coupled with the staggering pace and running time, gives us no rooting interest in the outcome. And when the outcome is as weak as it is here, one is just as happy not to wait around for it.

The score sounds like low-rent jazz and often detracts even further from the "action".

This production is a veritable textbook on how not to adapt a popular page-turner. A lumbering, tortuous, joyless mess devoid of tension, suspense, excitement or any recognizable human emotion. Even the most undiscerning viewers will find themselves looking at their watches and tapping their feet prior to the halfway mark. A complete misfire and a total dud - this film is indeed painful.
7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Tortured Plot Device But Great Cast in Some Fine Moments
Warning: Spoilers
Hitchcock called the plot device that kicks everything into gear the "MacGuffin."

Is there a less plausible, more tortured MacGuffin than the one used here? The Mafia creates an elaborate conspiracy to get lawyers to work for it.

Huh? Lawyers have been happy to work for mob money for a very long time. That's one reason there are so many lawyer jokes.

There are some notable moments in this otherwise mediocre thriller, though.

* The albino assassin. The Da Vinci Code also has an albino assassin. I think it's high time that the National Association for the Advancement of Albino Assassins protests Hollywood's blatant stereotyping.

* David Strathairn. Any movie with DS in it is worth watching. (Okay, excepting "Limbo.") He has two fine moments: a prisoner, he expresses a wish to see the sky; out of jail, he tells a woman how pretty her mouth looks; she says, "That's not even my best feature." I wish there had been a sequel built on those two stars' chemistry.

* It's amazing to confront how good looking Tom Cruise was when he was younger. He's still good looking, of course, but when this film was made he was at his peak.

It's fashionable to mock Cruise these days, but he deserves credit. He was almost eerie good looking when he was younger, and yet, unlike, say, a Matthew Mcconaughey or Brad Pitt who let their prettiness just sit up there on screen without doing much with it, Cruise had the drive of a Jimmy Cagney or other actors who had to get past their lack of prettiness. Cruise's drive is something to watch.

* Jeanne Tripplehorn is so pretty but so boring to watch. And she and Cruise have zero chemistry.

* There's an amazing scene where an older Gene Hackman attempts to seduce younger, prettier JT.

Hackman's so poignant in this part, and the part was so well written, that you wish that that storyline had had its own movie.

* And, the Elvis imitator/catfish truck driver was kind of interesting ...

And no movie with Ed Harris in it is a complete waste of time.
7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
once more MAYBE, possible spoilers
momcat31613 October 2014
I am not impressed with Tom Cruise as an actor, but this is one movie I MIGHT watch again, due to the seriously gifted cast, including Miss Tripplehorn. there is enough tension in the plot to show what could happen in a thoroughly immoral, power hungry business. I can truthfully say that virtually everything I know of Memphis, aside from the home of Elvis, I learned from this film. My thanks to those in charge of such details. Everything, I know of Memphis, aside from Graceland, I learned from this film .Again My thanks to those in charge of such details. Many of us will never be able to travel to all the places we would love to see.I have noted this fact in previous reviews. Please give us more location details. It is our armchair tour guide.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Not All Lawyers Are Legal......
g-bodyl5 October 2014
Back in the early 1990's, movies based on lawyers and law were everything, so it's no surprise that many of John Grisham's books were adapted into screen during this time, including this movie The Firm. The Firm is actually a really tense, character-driven thriller that works despite a stuffy running time and a very confusing plot(especially the last half-hour.) The screenplay is effective, but kudos to those who can follow the entirety of the plot because it was hard to follow at times.

Sydney Pollack's film is about this very smart man who is on the cusp of graduating from Harvard when he is offered a package at this law firm in Memphis which can afford him an affluent lifestyle. But little does he know the firm has a sinister side. When the FBI talks to him about the firm and asks him to be an insider, Mitch McDeere's life will be forever changed.

This film has a well-rounded cast and everyone is put to good use. Tom Cruise does a great job using brain and muscle to sort things out. Gene Hackman does a great job as his flawed, but kind character. Jeanne Tripplehorn is effective as Mitch's wife, Abby. We also get smaller key performances from Ed Harris as the FBI investigator and David Strathairn as Mitch's older brother, Ray who is serving time for manslaughter.

Overall, The Firm is a very interesting movie. The plot is all over the place and the film runs over two and a half hours, but the film never becomes boring and it's not all that hard to put the pieces together. I also like the jazzy piano score by Dave Grusin. It sounds upbeat at times, but it adds to the film. A very suspenseful thriller and I was surprised how fast my heart was beating in the three-way battle between Mitch, the FBI, and the Firm. I rate this film 8/10.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Excellent crime mystery..
premnathbharti15 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This film is based on a best-selling novel by John Grisham under the same name. John Grisham is well known writer for his thrilling novels. The story revolves around a young and ambitious lawyer, Mitch who has just passed law school and is looking for a job in a law firm. As he is one of the brightest students of the batch, he gets plenty of offers from the country's leading law firms, but the law firm which he chooses to work in, was going to change his life forever.

He got hired in small law firm in Memphis, offering him an unexpectedly large salary, a BMW, a sign-on bonus, use of corporate jet, 10 years contract and a lifestyle he ever dreamed for him and Abby, his wife. They were unaware of the facts about the firm and everything seems perfect to Mitch as all of these he ever wanted was there.

{SPOILER ALERT} But after some days Mitch realized that some conspiracy is going on in the firm and soon he found out that Firm is linked with the a Mafia family called "Moroltos", and soon FBI came after Mitch to reveal the facts about firm. Now he had to run from both FBI and firm.

Overall plot is good and the focus is mainly on Mitch and the firm. In the movie, firm searches for the candidate who are married, young and from poor background, who can be disillusioned with the money. Tom's acting is appreciable and story is changed a little bit from that of novel to create better climax. In my opinion the story of film is not better than the original screen play of the novel but overall film is perfect for the viewers who like mystery, drama with thriller.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews