In Canton, Mississippi, a fearless young lawyer and his assistant defend a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, inciting violent retribution and revenge from the Ku Klux Klan.
Samuel L. Jackson
High powered lawyer Claire Kubik finds her world turned upside down when her husband, who has been living under a false name, is arrested by military police and placed on trial for the murder of villagers while he was in the Marines.
Mark Sway is an 11 year old boy who lives with his mother and brother in a trailer. One day he and his brother are hanging out when a car pulls over beside them. The driver then sticks a hose in his exhaust and puts the other end into the car. Mark pulls it out. But the man sees him and grabs him and takes inside the car. The man talks to Mark then later shoots himself. The shock sends Mark's brother into a catatonic state. The police question him and slips out some stuff that makes them think he's saying more than he knows. Roy Foltrigg, a prosecutor with political ambitions tells Mark he wants to talk to him tomorrow. Mark feeling that he needs a lawyer, sees Reggie Love. Mark tells her about the man who killed himself. Reggie tells him he's a mob lawyer. And one of his clients is a member of a mob family who is suspected of killing a Senator who was trying to take down his family. But because the Senator's body is missing, they can't prosecute him. Reggie thinks Foltrigg thinks the... Written by
The position of the cigarettes that Mark steals from his mother's purse. See more »
Clint Von Hooser:
[Reggie borrows money from Clint so she can take Mark Sway to New Orleans]
There goes my rent money. Now where am I gonna stay?
You can stay here and take care of Momma Love. She likes you better than me, anyway.
Clint Von Hooser:
Well, that ain't hard to do.
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Wow, what a cast! And they all deliver the goods too. Susan Sarandon is an exceptional actress. Watch the scene in "Dead Man Walking" when she visits the family of one of the victims. She doesn't just sit quietly. She actively "listens" to them. And Tommy Lee Jones uncovers the comic side of his dashing political lawyer. Even the eleven-year-old kid gives a spot on performance, anything but cute, which is a relief. The smaller roles are equally well done although there is less to be done well. J. T. Walsh is always good. Mary-Louise Parker never makes a wrong move as the stressed-out mother. Ossie Davis is a monumental presence as the judge. Bill Macy is given only a few lines.
The script isn't bad either, especially in the first half of the film, in which the characters are being established. There are, alas, three clichés.
The bad guys LOOK like move bad guys usually look. They dress in black, have long greasy hair, are engraved with threatening jailhouse tattoos of barbed wire and things, and they never seem to enjoy themselves.
There are also two stereotypical scenes which really should have been avoided. In the first, the boy, Renfro, is trying to sneak out of a hospital. He pokes his face through a door into the reception room, where he sees his mother and two cops walking around. In the shadows he also spots the man he knows is trying to murder him. So what does he do? Does he run to his Mom and the police for protection? Certainly not. He does what aay potential murder victim would do. He dashes away from safety, down several flights of an empty stairway, followed closely by the squinter with a knife. The scene that follows is lifted straight out of "Coma," with the killer being locked in a refrigerator.
The other stereotyped situation is towards the end, when (just by the most improbable of coincidences) Sarandon and Renfro reach an empty boat house at the same time as three of the heavies. The two innocents try to avoid being discovered. There is a lot of tiptoeing around on creaky boards, a foot chase through some bushes, one of those scenes in which one person holds a gun on a second, and the second smiles and says, "You don't have the guts to pull the trigger," and walks up closer to the muzzle.
I've pointed out these weaknesses not because this is a bad movie. It's really pretty good. But the cast is so outstanding that any weakness in the story is the more highly illuminated.
See it, if only to see the range of facial expressions into which Jones is able to fashion his face.
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