Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1994. Warner Bros., Regency Enterprises, Alcor Films. Screenplay by Akiva Goldsman, Robert Getchell, based on the novel by John Grisham. Cinematography by Tony Pierce-Roberts. Produced by Arnon Milchan, Steven Reuther. Music by Howard Shore. Production Design by Bruno Rubeo. Costume Design by Ingrid Ferrin. Film Editing by Robert Brown.
The best John Grisham novel adaptation made so far (and most likely ever) is this excellent thriller starring newcomer Brad Renfro as a young Louisiana pre-teen who witnesses a suicide by a prominent big city lawyer. It turns out that the victim in question was the advocate for a known leader of a crime syndicate, so the District Attorney (Tommy Lee Jones) is desperate to know what the boy might have heard come from the deceased’s lips before he died. His much bigger problem, however, is that the lawyer’s mob clients are eager to shut the kid up permanently before he can breathe a word of it. Enter Susan Sarandon as a recovering alcoholic lawyer who protects the young man in the court of law and ends up physically protecting him from the dangers that surround him. Sarandon is larger than life in a zesty, heroic role that she lives up to without missing a single beat.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Actress (Susan Sarandon)