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Runaway Jury (2003)

  Directed by: Gary Fleder
Written by: John Grisham
Starring: John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz
Links: Runaway Jury on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Book, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Runaway Jury (2003) is also mentioned in em_fiction's review of Say Anything (1989).

"Brings about a satisfying verdict" - a review by em_fiction

I'm not too familiar with many John Grisham adaptations, but I really liked A Time To Kill (1996), I thought that was a terrific movie, but we're not discussing today. Most would know that his novels are law-based, particularly courtroom stories, and Runaway Jury is no exception. The film itself has quite an exciting premise: the first time acting legends Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman come together. Of course, you would expect them to get together in something extraordinary, but unfortunately, this film doesn't go that far.

Basically, it's another Grisham style courtroom movie - the plaintiff is a woman who'd lost her husband in a shooting at his workplace, the defendant is the gun company who produced the responsible gun (I know it sounds stupid) that was sold in an underground market. Hoffman plays Rohr, the good guy - the man of principles and justice - representing the plaintiff. Hackman plays Fitch, the bad guy - the man of greed and corruption - representing the defendant. The whole concept of the film is the rigging of the juror system. Juries are meant to be selected at random, but since Fitch wants a little dough, he never wants to risk a jury that might oppose him, so with his team of experts, he individually selects the jurors he assumes will find in his favour. In this case, however, Fitch comes across an unanticipated problem. Juror #9, Nick Easter (John Cusack) is also trying play the game, but from the inside, and with the help of his girlfriend Marlee (Rachel Weisz). Both use Nick's advantage as being part of the jury to manipulate Fitch and Rohr in order to make a little dough of their own.

The director, Gary Fleder, known for Kiss The Girls (1997) and Don't Say a Word (2001), seems interested in always creating a sense of panic. During the thriller sequences, the extremely shaky hand held camerawork (I seriously haven't seen this much shakiness since Saving Private Ryan (1998)) goes a little too far in trying to excite the audience. You kinda sit there and think "Okay, we get the point, can you please hold still so we can actually see what the hell is going on?!" Don't be fooled though, its good points still far exceed its crimes. It's very effective in gripping the audience; it just doesn't do as well in impressing the audience.

The leads are fantastic, and they're backed by fairly solid supporting cast. Hackman and Hoffman are great as usual, while Weisz and Cusack are just getting better and better. Despite that at some points the film becomes a little clichéd, you still ache with excitement, ignoring the fact that you've seen this kinda stuff a million times before. Nothing new, but it works well as a thriller.

em_fiction gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Sat 1 Nov 2003

Movie review statistics

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Reader comments

  1. The movie was errr... good

    Rating given: 9

    A comment from alistair on Sat 01 Nov 2003 18:10 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 9.00 (1 rating)

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