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Not since Primal Fear have I seen a court room thriller that was really
good. Given the actors, I suppose you can't really go wrong. Usually I
can find some actor or actress that wasn't very good, bothered me in
some way or was flat out horrible. This movie featured superb acting by
all those involved. Even Jeremy Piven (who I can't help but picture as
the Dean in Old School or his characters from PCU or Very Bad Things)
delivered a respectable performance, and very different from the other
Runaway Jury doesn't throw in a lot of needless plot twists and unexpected happenings just for the sake of throwing off or fooling the viewer. In fact, it pretty much goes in the direction you think it will, with only a couple of exceptions which are needed.
I'm usually the type that likes my movies to get it all done in around 90 minutes or so. Seems to me that most movies that go over 2 hours have a lot of needless "filler" material for no real reason, which, more often than not, results in slow, dragging scenes in the movie or just a boring movie altogether. This particular movie clocked in at just over 2 hours and used every minute wisely. Nothing boring and nothing seemed to drag on forever. I found the beginning with the jury selection particularly interesting. I thought the whole concept of knowing how to get exactly who you want on your jury, even before they actually show up to jury duty, was a little mind blowing. After seeing those scenes, I knew it was going to be a great movie. I highly recommend this movie, especially if you enjoyed movies like Primal Fear, although this is a completely different movie with different kinds of surprises.
Overall, Gene Hackman stole the show in this one and proves why he's been working in movies and television for over 40 years now. I give this 9 out of 10.
Well acted yet flimsy adaptation of the John Grisham novel lacks a well rounded script to carry itself but has an amazing cast that lifts this mediocre film past its problems and into respectability. The script has way too many loop holes in logic to even take what you are seeing seriously and the directing lacks a sharp narrative to get across what it's trying to say. The acting is the only major thing that this film excels on and with out it, this would have been a cable movie of the week at best. Gene Hackman is great as a jury consultant who would stop at nothing to win a case and Rachel Weisz is amazing as his adversary in and out of the courtroom. Dustin Hoffman is great as well but he is not in the movie as much as advertise and John Cusack is decent for the role he has. The biggest fault the movie does have is the fact that certain plot points disappear during the course of the film as well as characters. It's a great way to spend two hours of your time, especially with the great performances of Gene Hackman and Rachel Weisz to keep you glued to what is happening but the movie has a lot of glaring problems that makes it hard to sit though in certain parts.
Decent but very flawed film that has so many points to it that it can't
be categorize in simply good or bad.
The Good: Some of the performances are spectacular and deserving of a much better movie than this. Gene Hackman hasn't been this good in ages, and he's one of the few reasons that this movie is watchable. The next reason is Rachel Weisz, who is the only actor Hackman has had in quite some time that is his equal in performance and in acting prowess. She is so good in fact that she does almost steal the film from him and then some. The city of New Orleans is a fascinating setting for this film but wrong because it's not the original setting of the book.
The Bad: Dustin Hoffman is not really in the movie and is really a minor character in the whole story. Which is too bad because he's such a charismatic actor and deserves a much bigger role than what he had. The next problem is the whole spy versus spy angle that makes the whole film into a joke because no one would go that far to rig a jury, especially in a case that would have been thrown out of a real court with the facts that was presented in the film. Which leads to .
The Ugly: The script is really bad. How bad you say? It took almost four writers to outline the story, which bare in mind does not follow the book at all. The dialog is great in places and bad in others, and the whole structure of the film is paper-thin which is easily to blow holes thru. The story runs out of gas in the half way point of the film and the ideas express seems more like a bias view of what the law should be than a realistic view of what the law really is. I think the biggest offence the movie makes is changing the text of the original novel and making about guns other than big tobacco. John Grisham's original novel was hugely entertaining and down right poignant in its views about justice. This film seems like it has not idea where it's at from time to time and lacks a coherent narrative to even try to explain the stuff that is going on right in front of you.
Even with the good points, the bad does out weight the good here. It's a decent film because of the acting of Rachel Weisz and Gene Hackman but they like the viewer are let down with a script that lacks conviction for the subject it covers and a real point of view that expresses the feelings of the reality of the gun issue.
Nicholas Easter (John Cusack) is desperate to get on this jury. With a
high powered Gun Manufacturer, at risk of being held responsible for
selling the guns that are used in crime, the question is why.
Gene Hackman is brought in for the defence as a jury consultant, who is at ease with digging up dirt and manipulating jurors, to get the results he wants.
And Rachel Weisz is an outsider, pulling Easters strings. As the stakes get higher, there is no doubt that this Jury is For Sale, but will the highest bidder win.
Hackman, Weisz and Cusack are all on top form for this one, but Hoffman's Character seemed to lack a little depth.
Basically a good thriller, that is worth watching, but don't expect too much, you might feel let down.
Good but a bit disappointing adaptation to the John Grisham thriller
does not follow the book the way it should be, and lacks the momentum
of the court proceedings that follow. The acting is first rate with
Rachel Weisz and Gene Hackman being the standouts in a cast that
includes Dustin Hoffman John Cusack, and Bruce Davidson. Weisz and
Hackman's performances are of Oscar quality, despite the fact that the
movie is not up to their caliber of acting. The setting is a little out
of the way, and the pacing is a little off with scenes that go way to
fast but the film is ultimately save by the acting by all involved,
most of which is credited to Weisz and Hackman.
2 stars for Weisz and Hackman but don't expect anything close to the book.
This was a movie that wasn't over-hyped, filled with talented actors and kept you watching all the way through. My rating is maybe a little generous but at the time just after watching it was one of most enjoyable movies I have watched for a long time, and I watch a lot (maybe too much ;) Hackman was flawless as usual as an actor and once again maintained his great screen presence. Hoffman really portrayed the idealistic lawyer character well. Weisz played the female lead with the right mix of the strong and vulnerable. And Cusack, well I consider him an intelligent actor. He looked once again intelligent, thoughtful in his acting. The plot twists were not overdone but did offer some slight surprises which were hinted at along the way if you payed attention. Overall I'd recommend this movie to anyone, especially those who take their movies seriously.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'Runaway Jury' is one of the best movies based on a John Grisham novel.
The best is still 'The Rainmaker', probably because Francis Ford
Coppola was the director who could work with a perfect ensemble of
actors. Other Grisham adaptations have had terrific ensembles as well.
'The Firm' (1993) starred Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Jeanne
Tripplehorn and Holly Hunter, 'A Time to Kill' did it with Samuel L.
Jackson, Matthhew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Kevin Spacey, Donald
Dutherland, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris Cooper, Oliver Platt and Ashley
Judd, and 'The Rainmaker' had to do it with only Matt Damon, Danny
DeVito, Claire Danes, Jon Voight, Mickey Rourke, Mary Kay Place and
Now here is 'Runaway Jury', starring John Cusack, Gene Hackman (in his third Grisham-movie), Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz, a courtroom thriller that has suspense, keeps our attention and knows how to surprise. The good thing is that the movie seems to have no real good guy or girl. Hackman is Rankin Fitch, a guy who spies on possible jurors to make sure he chooses the right jury for his employers. The way he does this make his the real bad guy. John Cusack is Nick Easter. He becomes a juror in a case that deals with guns and how their manufacturers are responsible for people getting killed. Fitch is on the side of the manufacturers, on the other side we have lawyer Wendell Rohr (Dustin Hoffman). He represents a woman who wants to sue the gun-manufacturers because her husband was killed by one of their guns.
At first the movie seems to be a courtroom drama but then we learn that juror Nick Easter has his own agenda. He wanted to be in that jury for something and his girlfriend Marlee (Rachel Weisz) has a lot to do with that. Nick and Marlee want to give the verdict to the person, Fitch or Rohr, who is willing to give them the highest amount of money. Fitch is interested right away but tries to prevent this in a lot of ways, Rohr slowly realizes that he has to make an offer as well since Marlee and Nick are able to show that they really own the jury. To tell you too much could spoil things for you, so this is enough for the plot.
With real suspense this movie keeps our attention and makes us forget that at some times things are not very plausible. There were moments I could have asked questions but during the movie I was not thinking about them, only after it was finished I realized that certain events simply had to happen to keep the movie going. The way the movie just kept on going made sure we were not even able to think about possible flaws. It was interesting the entire time.
Director Gary Fleder ('Kiss the Girls', 'Don't Say a Word') has made his best thriller to date with the help of a nice story and some terrific performances. Cusack is able to do almost anything, Hoffman and Hackman are always reliable actors and sexy Weisz is perfect as the mysterious Marlee. Completely different from 'The Rainmaker', but almost as good as that one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILERS Hollywood loves adapting popular books. Whether it's classics,
modern stories or the collective works of particular authors, films are
forever being produced with adapted screenplays. One author who seems
to be used a lot is intellectual writer John Grisham. Normally setting
his stories in American courtrooms, his stories are often complex and
twist based with strong resolutions. 'Runaway Jury' is no exception and
in 2003, the film was turned into a feature film starring Gene Hackman
and John Cusack. Well acted by everyone involved, it is an entertaining
piece of work which leaves you thinking throughout before sticking on a
conclusion you might well have predicted beforehand, but which you
still enjoy seeing it reach.
In a landmark trial, a woman is taking the gun companies to court for compensation after a major family loss. Leading the defence for the gun companies is the constantly victorious Rankin Finch (Gene Hackman). A regular at fixing juries in his favour, Finch finds himself facing a challenge this time when a couple, one a jury member (John Cusack) and one working behind the scenes (Rachel Weisz) decide to make money out of the same skills Finch employs so successfully.
Whether Hackman, Cusack or Weisz, you don't see many moments in this film when the acting isn't superb. Regaining a form not seen for a fair few years, Hackman in particular is brilliant as a man who exploits the system for his own gain. He is closely challenged however by both Cusack and Weisz who give admirable performances in their respective roles.
The film as a whole is also incredibly clever. Leading you in multiple directions, the constant game of 'cat and mouse' is brilliantly played out with some noticeable surprises as well as some rather unexpected ones.
It's true that there are moments when the story drags slightly and you find yourself feeling a bit bored, but the majority of the time the story is fast flowing and incredibly entertaining.
Anyway, whatever your complaints about the script, the story is mostly entertaining and well acted. Led by a superb performance by Gene Hackman, when it's on a high the film is up there with the finest thrillers around in years. It's well worth watching, even if you normally can't stand this sort of film.
I must confess the main reason I adore this movie is because of Rachel Weisz, who is not only such a hottie in this film, but is absolutely perfect in her role as "Marlee". Oh, and John Cusack is very good as well. The plot is not straightforward and the twists keep this from degenerating into a formulaic trial movie. The tension builds steadily. Gene Hackman makes an excellent bad guy as the lawyer for the gun industry and there are several good supporting roles, especially that of Bruce Mc Gill, as the judge. The only black mark on the film is Dustin Hoffman, who is either badly miscast or else just can't act anymore. I have seen this movie at least 10 times and I enjoy it every time.
Tepid reworking of the John Grisham book misses the inner workings of the subject matter at hand and delivers a week adaptation that lacks the conviction and the substance of the novel. The script is a mess from start to finish, and some sub plots involving certain characters don't really go anywhere in terms of furthering the plot along. The acting is very good with great performances by Rachel Weisz, who really makes this film a better one than it really is with her great performance and Gene Hackman, who kept the pace up with his great performance with a villainous, and yet sympathetic role. Dustin Hoffman is great as well but is not really in the film as much as advertise, and John Cusack does fine with his role. I just wish that the movie could have been as professional and as graceful as the actors involved, instead of the clunker that is presented to us now.
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