Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1998. Enchanter Entertainment, Island Pictures. Story by John Grisham, Screenplay by Clyde Hayes. Cinematography by Changwei Gu. Produced by Jeremy Tannenbaum. Music by Mark Isham. Production Design by Stephen Altman. Costume Design by Dona Granata. Film Editing by Geraldine Peroni.
Uneventful Robert Altman film written by John Grisham, the first time he has written a story directly for the screen. Calling it an “original” screenplay would be a misnomer, though, as this story has the same amount of underdog lawyers, weird southern bad guys and passionate but unbalanced women that we’ve come to know and love in Grisham’s stories. Kenneth Branagh is a lawyer caught in a net when he gets involved with a “mysterious” (read: easy to lay, hard to get to know) woman (Embeth Davidtz, probably her last sexpot role before she started getting cast as everyone’s favourite villainous snob) who wants to have her dangerous father (Robert Duvall) committed to a mental institution. Of course, nothing is what it seems. None of the twists happen with much urgency or interest, probably because Altman’s drawn out style is better suited to ensemble character studies than tight-screw thrillers.