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The Chamber (1996)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  11 October 1996 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 9,751 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 42 user | 37 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

A young man fresh out of law school tries to win a reprieve for his racist grandfather who is on death row.

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
E. Garner Goodman
...
Rollie Wedge / Donnie Cayhall (as Raymond Barry)
...
Sgt. Clyde Packer
...
Nora Stark
...
Gov. David McAllister
...
Judge Flynn F. Slattery
...
Atty. Gen. Roxburgh
...
Wyn Lettner
Greg Goossen ...
J.B. Gullitt (as Gregory Goossen)
Seth Isler ...
Marvin B. Kramer
...
Ruth Kramer
Sid Johnson ...
Josh Kramer
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Storyline

Having survived the hatred and bigotry that was his Klansman grandfather's only legacy, young attorney Adam Hall seeks at the last minute to appeal the old man's death sentence for the murder of two small Jewish boys 30 years before. Only four weeks before Sam Cayhall is to be executed, Adam meets his grandfather for the first time in the Mississippi prison which has held him since the crime. The meeting is predictably tense when the educated, young Mr. "Hall" confronts his venom-spewing elder, Mr. "Cayhall," about the murders. The next day, headlines run proclaiming Adam the grandson who has come to the state to save his grandfather, the infamous Ku Klux Klan bomber. While the old man's life lies in the balance, Adam's motivation in fighting this battle becomes clear as the story unfolds. Not only does he fight for his grandfather, but perhaps for himself as well. He has come to heal the wounds of his own father's suicide, to mitigate the secret shame he has always felt for the ... Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Time is running out.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent images and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Kammer  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,612,095 (USA) (11 October 1996)

Gross:

ITL 419,247,000 (Italy) (6 June 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film debut of Bo Jackson, who was a celebrated two-sport baseball and football player. He was cast by the producers because of both his charms and the intimidating stature both that would be perfect for the role of a prison guard. See more »

Goofs

When Lee (Faye Dunaway) shows Adam (Chris O'Donnell) the photo allegedly of her father at a lynching in Mississippi as a boy, it is actually the iconic photograph of the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Indiana. The young Sam Cayhill has been edited into the original photograph. See more »

Quotes

Nora Stark: You're in Mississippi now - land of the secrets. There are bodies buried everywhere.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Conspiracy Theory (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Fine Mi Lassa
Composed by Vincenzo Bellini
Arranged by Trevor Jones
Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
18 October 2008 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

Idealistic attorney Chris O'Donnell (as Adam Hall) goes down to Mississippi, to take on the "death row clemency case of his onetime Klansman grandfather" Gene Hackman (as Sam Cayhall). "With just 28 days before the execution, Adam sets out to retrace the events leading to the crime for which Sam was convicted. As the impending death sentence looms closer, Adam works quickly to uncover the family's history for any hidden clues. In a white-knuckle series of twists and turns, Adam discovers deceptions and dark secrets that ultimately lead him to the startling truth," according to the DVD sleeve's synopsis.

"White-knuckled"? Indeed not. "The Chamber" (as in gas chamber) starts off very well; and, Mr. Hackman's portrayal of the yellow-teethed racist is worth a look. Faye Dunaway (as Lee Cayhall Bowman) has a showy supporting role. All in all, the film's personnel portends a much better story than the one which appears on screen. Building up a romance between blue-eyed Mr. O'Donnell and brown-skinned Lela Rochon (as Nora Stark) seems like such an obvious way to improve the story (whether or not it was done in the John Grisham novel), you've got to wonder how on Earth they missed the obvious.

***** The Chamber (10/11/96) James Foley ~ Chris O'Donnell, Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway


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