Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1993. Davis Entertainment, Mirage Enterprises, Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions. Screenplay by David Rabe, Robert Towne, David Rayfiel, based on the novel by John Grisham. Cinematography by John Seale. Produced by John Davis, Sydney Pollack, Scott Rudin. Music by Dave Grusin. Production Design by Richard Macdonald. Costume Design by Ruth Myers. Film Editing by Fredric Steinkamp, William Steinkamp.
The first film adaptation of a John Grisham novel is still the most financially successful. Tom Cruise plays a green lawyer who is hired to work at an awe-inspiring law firm led by the powerful Gene Hackman. All seems to be perfect until he realizes that his superiors got up as far as they did by getting their hands dirty in all sorts of nasty affairs (they’re lawyers, for God’s sake); if he wants to keep his super salary with all the fringe benefits, he’s going to have to turn a blind eye or else get out of there quickly. Sydney Pollack’s lethargic directorial style never did suit action films very well, and this is a perfect example. Cruise’s character is so blandly moral he’s downright boring, and the plot is too confusing and leaves a lot to be desired. The only sign of life comes from a brilliant supporting turn by Holly Hunter as a whistle-blowing employee who wants to make sure that her friend the movie star comes out okay; one wishes the whole movie had been about her, but one always wishes that about Holly Hunter in anything that isn’t about her.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Supporting Actress (Holly Hunter); Best Original Score