Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1996. Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, Davis Entertainment. Screenplay by William Goldman, Chris Reese, based on the novel by John Grisham. Cinematography by Ian Baker. Produced by John Davis, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard. Music by Carter Burwell. Production Design by David Brisbin. Costume Design by Tracy Tynan. Film Editing by Mark Warner.
Routine John Grisham thriller features a weak lead performance by Chris O’Donnell as a green lawyer who goes home to a small southern town to defend his Klansman grandfather (Gene Hackman). Hackman is on death row for having years ago bombed a building that cost the life of two Jewish boys and is now pleading to have his death sentence commuted. While pleading the case, O’Donnell has to deal with the shame that overcomes him for inheriting the legacy of the Klan, while unearthing more family secrets than he bargained on learning about. Faye Dunaway inexplicably plays Hackman’s daughter in this sometimes effective but mostly by-the-numbers thriller that has some nice moments between grandfather and son when they connect, but otherwise is totally predictable.