5.3/10
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17 user 13 critic

Trial by Jury (1994)

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Valerie is a juror in the trail of a mob boss. When her young son's life is threatened, she has no option other than to see that justice isn't done.

Director:

Heywood Gould
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joanne Whalley ... Valerie Alston (as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer)
Armand Assante ... Rusty Pirone
Gabriel Byrne ... Daniel Graham
William Hurt ... Tommy Vesey
Kathleen Quinlan ... Wanda
Margaret Whitton ... Jane Lyle, Juror
Ed Lauter ... John Boyle
Richard Portnow ... Leo Greco
Lisa Arrindell ... Eleanor Lyons (as Lisa Arrindell Anderson)
Jack Gwaltney ... Teddy Parnell
Graham Jarvis ... Mr. Duffy, Foreman
William R. Moses ... Paul Baker, Juror
Joe Santos ... Johnny Verona
Beau Starr ... Phillie
Bryan Shilowich Bryan Shilowich ... Robbie, Valerie's Son
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Storyline

Valerie is a juror in the trail of a mob boss. When her young son's life is threatened, she has no option other than to see that justice isn't done.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

For one juror, the question of guilt or innocence is a matter of life or death... her own. See more »

Genres:

Thriller | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 September 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Geschworene See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$6,971,777
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Black and White (some sequences)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Hurt and Joanne Whalley would later play a couple in The Challenger (2013). See more »

Quotes

Tommy Vesey: The name of the game, Valerie, is not who dies but who dies first. That'll be your boy.
See more »

Soundtracks

All The Way
Written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen
Published by Maraville Music Corp.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Affected with some important obstacles, but manageable
6 December 2016 | by Rodrigo_AmaroSee all my reviews

"Trial by Jury" has one of those deeply interesting premises when you hear it sounds like something new, fresh and exciting. Trouble is that the script turns and the way the movie is conducted leaves something in the air that makes you feel deeply torn about what you've just seen. I've seen it a few times (enjoyed a little on my first view; didn't impress on my second; but now, it's an okay movie that I can recommend). The appeal is due mostly to the cast and some great sequences that doesn't fade away in your memory so easily.

As I said, the story's premise is the main factor that pulls you in from the start. Valerie, an idealist woman (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer) who firmly believes in the power of justice is selected for jury duty in this important cast involving a dangerous mobster, the menacing Rusty Pirone (Armand Assante, very good) who seems completely in charge of himself and the people around him despite facing a long-term prison for murder and other crimes. Pirone notices something in that particular female juror, and thus decides to ask to his comrades to find ways to get to the woman just to get one vote to unbalance the jury and the verdict, which will get him a new trial while the ambitious and dedicated prosecutor (Gabriel Byrne) doesn't uncover more evidences and more witnesses against the gangster. Meanwhile, Valerie has to deal with threats to her son's life and her own, on the hands of the mysterious Tommy Vesey (William Hurt), a man under Pirone's command and who pushes her to the limit in finding means to convince the jury that Pirone is innocent - even though the testimonies from the few witnesses already seem to convict the guy.

If the plot sounds familiar to you is probably because you've already seen it the non-official remake with Demi Moore, "The Juror", which isn't a better film, it just works better with the thrills in a more memorable and frightening way. But somehow "Trial by Jury", over all these years was the one I always wanted to look back. It's classy, heavily dramatic in the sense that I cared about the characters (even the bad ones), a lot more than "The Juror" was. Despite the mediocre performance by the leading lady, I always liked the fact the script doesn't transform her into a super smart girl who finds all the means and answers to her problems - except for the very final scene with the mobster, that transition is just awfully hard to buy. She has the classic look Pirone admires when required, convinces a bit as a devoted mom but when it's all about serious things happening, she fails a bit.

Another problematic aspect of the script, besides the slow development outside of the trial, deaths and threats sequences, is that we're not able to fully understand the real motive of the trial. They state that it was murder against a rival but it feels too cheap, more should be added and with more layers. While Byrne and Richard Portnow (as Pirone's talky lawyer, nice role by the way) conducts the whole circus with great presence, it's hard to understand the actual case because it's all torn in bits and pieces. Writers Heywood Gould (also the director) and Jordan Katz made it look too simplistic, just as much of the characters actions at times - why make the nice prosecutor such a clueless guy? With his character turned into a more investigate man, the twists and turns of the film would pay-off a lot more.

As for the three main guys, Assante dominates the screen with great presence; Hurt makes an excellent use of his calm voice both to threat and to make sure to Valerie that, in some ways, he can help her; and Byrne makes a good job as Pirone's biggest nightmare - their scene at the restaurant is priceless. Mention must be made to Kathleen Quinlan as the sexy and killer lady from Rusty's team.

Involving drama and average thriller, "Trial by Jury" succeeds a little even with that strange lack of balance. Not a bad way to spend the time. 7/10


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