*** Official RUNAWAY JURY Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Aaron Garman, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. Aaron Garman

    Aaron Garman Second Unit

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    I'll be short here...the film was excellent. Great performances from the entire cast, especially Cusack and Hackman. Of course, Hoffman was always fun to watch as well. The film had a very interesting and twisting plot that kept you thinking all the way through. I also felt the film overall had a good message at the end. Definitely reccomended!

    AJG
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Runaway Jury". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Wow, some members that really thrive on exposing plot holes in films will have a field day here without much effort needed to expose such plot holes. However, with that being said, I really enjoyed this film. It's a film not to be taken seriously, but it had some good acting performances and I enjoyed the pacing of how the film told it's story. Like I said, the film is not realistic in my opinion, but it is entertaining.





    Crawdaddy
     
  4. Adam Portrais

    Adam Portrais Stunt Coordinator

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    This is what happens when you get great actor and give the a good script. I was glad I watched this yesterday after I saw Texas Chainsaw, otherwise I would have been depressed the whole weekend.
     
  5. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Runaway Jury [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of 5

    Dictionary.com defines the word "potboiler" as "a term applied derisively to any literary or artistic work...done simply for money and the means of living", while I'd extend that definition to include the phrase "See: any movie or book with the name John Grisham attached".

    As long as movies exist there will be a demand for the "courtroom drama" and Hollywood's current King of the Courts is undoubtedly attorney/author/producer John Grisham, a novelist whose output varies from surprisingly challenging to borderline banal...much like the films that are borne from his creations.

    For every A Time to Kill or The Firm there is a The Pelican Brief or a The Client, and Grisham's sole foray into 'original screenplay' territory was his story credit on Robert Altman's forgettable The Gingerbread Man. Oddly enough the finest Grisham adaptation (The Rainmaker) is the one that most people didn't bother to see...if you're not counting the wholly disposable The Chamber, which is a wise move indeed.

    With very few novels still available for cinematic interpretation, producers set their sights on Grisham's The Runaway Jury...and let's just say it was quite the lengthy and problematic production. Rewrites, cast defections, and a controversial change in the tale's central story combined to leave Gary Fleder's adaptation a little late in its arrival.

    Amazing then that the end result is a movie even watchable, let alone half-decent. And, despite Fleder's clumsy and ungainly directorial style, Runaway Jury ends up twice as entertaining as the pre-relase speed bumps would lead one to believe. Due almost exclusively to its massive cast of veteran actors and the generally brisk clip of the adapted screenplay (courtesy of four separate screenwriters), Runaway Jury comes off as one of the better "Grisham Flicks" out there.

    Whereas most courtroom dramas focus on the plaintiffs, the defendants, the lawyers or the crimes being judged, Runaway Jury is - not surprisngly - about the jurors. Not in a 12 Angry Men sort of way, but in a "massive conspiracy/con job to deliver the verdict required by the party with the fattest pockets" sort of thing.

    John Cusack is the devious juror. Rachel Weisz is his comely accomplice. Gene Hackman represents the ultra-wealthy (and casually evil) gun manufacturer defendants, while an entirely ethical Dustin Hoffman lobbies for the victims of a horrific shooting spree that opens the tale. Bruce McGill is the no-bullshit judge; Jeremy Piven is a nerdly expert on juries; Cliff Curtis, Jennifer Beals, Bill Nunn, Guy Torry and Nora Dunn present a colorful collection of grumpified jurors.

    As a showcase for a dozen likeable actors, Runaway Jury works resoundingly well. When you opt to look a bit closer at the oh-so-timely and harried plot histrionics...you'll notice more than a few frayed edges. (That the novel positioned a tobacco company as the heavy while the filmed version uses a firearms manufacturer is only one of the confusing contrivances.) Better still to overlook the myriad plot holes and sketchy character motivations and enjoy Runaway Jury for its strongest assets: a stellar cast parading through a handsome (and only occasionally compelling) narrative.

    Certainly not awful and definitely not excellent, Runaway Jury should please fans of the Courtroom Genre and those who admire the varied talents of Cusack, Hoffman and (especially) Hackman.
     
  6. Kevin Porter

    Kevin Porter Supporting Actor

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of 5

    Runaway Jury is a not exactly a courtroom masterpiece (I'll leave that title to 12 Angry Men in which the courtroom is featured less than 2 minutes) but is thankfully not a factory-mill, popcorn flick. It toys around with greatness but reduces itself to just pretty good in the 3rd act.

    The film starts out with an obscured David E. Kelley going on a killing spree at his law firm and greasing Bobby Donnell. The film then jumps 2 years (The number of years it takes for his wife to realize she can milk his corpse for millions) to the holding of the case that claims that guns in fact take control of people and kill people. But things get tricky as everyone (2 people) wants the jury in their control for their own personal gain. Based on a book in which the case was against a tabacco company.

    The main attraction here are the performances by veterans Hackman and Hoffman. Interestingly enough, this is Hack and Hoff's first film together. The plot revolves around, you guessed it, a jury. Cusack and Weisz also put in good performances. The film is hurt by it's preachiness and bias concerning guns. Needless to say (without breaking forum rules), you know where the filmmakers stand about gun-control when it's over. This messiness took this one down half a star.

    The credit sequence in this film makes me thank God for Quentin Tarantino. The credits actually play over action in a film in such a way where it feels you're watching a TV show. I hate it.

    Overall the film is a sucessful effort though I don't see it holding up well over repeat viewings. $8 well spent.
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    If you can accept the premise as plausible, the film is an okay couple of hours, and it's an ensemble piece with many actors I enjoy watching, though none of them really get to shine in the film, but it's not like that are sleepwalking through their roles, the script just doesn't make use of their talents to garner great performances.

    I recommend it as a matinee, or rental down the road (with little replay value).

    I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.
     
  8. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Finally got around to seeing this last night. Really enjoyed it. Not entirely realistic, but very intense and extremely well acted. Gosh, Gene Hackman could read the phonebook and make it intriguing.

    This is one I would like to see again.



    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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