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Lawyer Rick Magruder has a one-night-stand affair with caterer Mallory Doss. He becomes hooked on her, and when he learns her nut-case father Dixon is threatening her, he puts the weight of his law firm behind Mallory, has Dixon arrested and subpoenas her ex-husband Pete to testify against Dixon in court. Dixon is sent to an asylum, but escapes from there and the lives of many people are in danger. Written by
At the party early in the movie, Rick and Lois are talking head-to-head on the sofa. Mallory walks behind them and you can hear Lois talking, but we see their heads at opposite ends of the sofa and they aren't talking. The camera immediately cuts back to them sitting close and talking like before. See more »
[addressing her father]
Would you please stop talking to me as if I were Jeff's age?
What's wrong with my age?
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Well worth seeing but don't try to follow the plot
For at least two-thirds of its time I found this a superior, intriguing thriller, which isn't surprising as it's written and directed by Robert Altman, based on a John Grisham novel. As well as attracting a quality cast and crew, Altman invests the movie with some of his trademark overlapping sound, possibly some improvised scenes, and of course inventive visuals. The opening aerial shots of rivers winding through a delta predict the labyrinthine plot; and the occasional red cars and red umbrellas punctuating the generally drab and rain-sodden exteriors are portents of later violence. (There are also some felines, though no cat scene as memorable as the one with Elliott Gould in The Long Goodbye!)
When first introduced to us, Rick Magruder (Kenneth Branagh with a convincing Southern accent) seems the epitome of a successful criminal lawyer, but we soon learn that he has a flakey side, when he becomes overly interested in a needy, waif-like waitress (Embeth Davidtz) he drives home. He is soon involved with committing her oddball father - a rather minor part for Robert Duvall - to an asylum; and from then on Magruder goes downhill, while we try to follow an increasingly baffling plot. Daryl Hannah plays Magruder's chic associate; and Robert Downey Jr is a private eye with a drink problem. Sadly, for its last 20 or 30 minutes, the movie becomes bogged down in the tropical storm, before reaching a fairly clichéd Hollywood climax.
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