When a judge is charged with rape, Arthur Kirkland is forced to defend him. Kirkland has had problems with the judge in the past, including one incident when the judge wrongly sentenced his client Jeff McCullaugh because of a technicality. Kirkland faces a moral and legal dilemma.Written by
Melissa Portell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I liked And Justice for All. I found it very entertaining and absorbing. In its satiric way, the movie is full of rich characters and plausible situations even if sometimes you can spot the cliché around the corner. Sometimes satire works as a magnifying glass to expose and better criticize something. And I believe that's what happens in this movie with all those bizarre scenes and deranged characters.
Even though Jewison focuses problems such as corruption, criticizes the danger of powerful people in the wrong places and brings up moral dilemmas about the practice of law, I believe And Justice for All is more of a satire than a serious alert to a possible decadence of the judicial system. The odd elements in the plot are one too many to see the movie strictly from its dramatic point of view: a cross-dresser client, an evidence-eating defendant, a suicidal judge, a hysterical lawyer.
In a certain way, the message of this movie reminded me the one of Mike Nichols anti-war comedy Catch-22: in order to cope with a crazy situation you have to become a little crazy. In a war scenario people fight for values like justice and order, but they also fight for power and interests; the same thing happens inside a courtroom. Some lawyers see Law as a business, some see it as a way to promote their personal careers and some see it as the opportunity given to those who have nothing else to lose.
The performances are just great, specially the ones of Jack Warden and Jeffrey Tambor. Al Pacino unquestionably steals the movie with another over-the-top performance as the lawyer willing to risk everything and delivers another memorable speech during his `opening statement'.
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