Reviewed by: Brett Willis
|Featuring||Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook, Terry Kinney, Wilford Brimley, Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, David Strathairn|
This story of a corrupt and manipulative law firm, adapted from the novel by John Grisham, has a near all-star cast and is tense and full of plot twists.
After he graduates with honors from Harvard Law School, Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise) and his wife Abby (Jeanne Tripplehorn) happily accept a generous offer from a Memphis firm. Once there, they start to sense the overbearing nature of the firm’s involvement in the lives of its associates; but they make the best of it, temporarily blinded by the money. Then Mitch learns that the firm does Mob business and that “no one leaves the firm alive.” The FBI contacts Mitch and asks him to turn over the Mob’s files (that would mean violating attorney-client privilege, for which he’d be disbarred—not to mention having to go into the witness-protection program). Desperately he looks for a way to get the firm, the Mob and the FBI all off his back.
Profanity is extreme with over 25 uses of f*. There’s a scene of Mitch having implied sex with a woman on a business trip (no nudity, but visible intimate touching); it turns out that that encounter was an entrapment tailored to Mitch’s personality and set up by the firm so they could have photographic evidence against him if they ever needed to “keep him in line.” (And you thought your employer was intrusive?) There’s on-screen violence including some deaths, and a lot of suspense for first-time viewers. The FBI is shown using tactics not much different from those of the firm and the Mob. On the positive side: Mitch is honorable in his efforts to solve his problem in a way that doesn’t betray his oath as an attorney. And Mitch and Abby, despite some rough spots in their marriage, are so devoted that both risk their lives while attempting to help or protect each other. Discounting the offensive elements, this is a better-than-average example of escapist adult fiction.