Thursday, December 16, 2010

Runaway Jury

Gary Fleder, 2003 (8.2*)
Perhaps author John Grisham's best, this spellbinding trial story shows how juries are now manipulated by expensive trial consultants in order to pre-determine the outcome simply by jury selection and tampering. The impeccable Gene Hackman is the veteran pro at this, coming at a price of millions. Dustin Hoffman is the lawyer for the plaintiff, an honorable attorney who refuses to break the law like Hackman to gain advantage. Jeremy Piven is his jury consultant, a brash youngster compared to Hackman.

In this case, a shooting rampage at a stock brokerage firm leaves a widow suing the gunmaker, in a case that could provide not only millions but set a legal precedent that could see the weapons makers in court nationwide for years. John Cusack is an unwilling juror with a hidden agenda. We see him colluding with his girlfriend Rachel Weisz, who attempts to extort money from each side, promising to deliver a jury favorable to whoever pays the most money.

This film moves briskly for a trial film, as we see many crimes being committed in the name of 'justice'. For me, this is the best film of any Grisham novel, thanks to the cast, which includes three Oscar® winners (Hackman, Hoffman, and Weisz). With enough twists and turns, this one will keep you guessing until the unexpected outcome.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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