Wendell Rohr is a torts lawyer taking on the gun lobby. Rankin Fitch is the jury consultant for the Defendants and between them the battle is for the hearts and minds of the jury. But there is someone on the inside. Nicholas Easter is a juror with a girlfriend, Marlee, on the outside. they have a past ..... and their own agenda. Written by
John Grisham probably wasn't entirely happy with this adaptation of his intriguing novel, and chances are you won't, either. John Cusack stars as Nick Easter, a cunning young juror trying to bribe both the defense and the prosecution in a high-profile case against a gun manufacturer.
RUNAWAY JURY starts out quite strong, and those who haven't read the book are lured into the clever, original plot with all its turns. But some how, some way, the film gradually loses its footing. It's as if all the interesting twists are used up in the first hour, forcing the writers to pad the remainder with drawn-out scenes and contrived dialog (a scene where the simplistically pure Dustin Hoffman and the simplistically evil Gene Hackman meet in the men's room stands out in particular).
RUNAWAY JURY also commits a near unforgivable flaw for fictitious entertainment: it's too damn preachy. Once again, and in typical Hollywood fashion, guns and those who make them are portrayed as a type of grotesque venom stuck to the bottom of your shoe. Indeed viewers who believe criminals, not firearm makers, are responsible for gun crime, are treated as something of a parasite, best exemplified by a raving juror played a gruff Cliff Curtis.
In the end, RUNAWAY JURY is a film that is difficult to critique. It certainly has more right with it than wrong, but the negative aspects somehow disproportionately consume the final product. Some will absolutely love it, others may absolutely hate it, but most will probably be entertained yet disappointed at the same time.
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