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- runaway jury
this is my type of movie and was one of the very best that year
if you like a solid drama with tension then this is for you
no action packed sequences but fully absorbing
gene hackman and john cusack are two excellent, underrated actors and they were born to take these roles
a sound story
certainly the best grisham film to come out since the firm and the client...more info
- Not Bad, but...
This movie is not that bad in many ways. I just don't know why they called it "The Runaway Jury" or said it was by John Grisham. It's entertaining and has many virtues, but it's a totally different story from what Grisham wrote....more info
- Not a movie about a gun trial-it's a movie about jury manipulation
Having thoroughly enjoyed the Grisham novel of the same title, I was interested in seeing the big-screen adaptation. The trial subject matter changed between the two mediums (a smoking trial in the novel and a gun trial in the movie version), but the theme was the same-a wounded "little guy" suing arrogant corporate interests. The movie isn't really about the trial, or the merits of the arguments, and the lawyers are in the periphery to the action. The two true players are Gene Hackman, a high-paid jury consultant for the gunmaker, and John Cusack, a little guy who worked hard to get on this jury and has a few tricks up his sleeve. This is a movie about psychological influence, and elements of the book are represented, but unfortunately, it wasn't possible to capture the masterpiece of psychological trickery that was played by the two sides in the book. It's a decent action flick, and fairly true to the story, but it falls short of being complete. I was especially disappointed by the ending. For any fan, I recommend the novel, which is different enough from the movie that it can be enjoyed separately....more info
- It's not about guns...
This is a reasonably entertaining movie with some pretty good acting but its more suspense and drama than action. If you're looking for a thriller with things blowing up and shoot-outs and high speed car chases you'll be disappointed. Its a bit slow toward the beginning and gradually builds up throughout the film and reaches a surprising climax at the end. However, it does remain entertaining throughout for the most part.
A lot of people see this as a liberal Hollywood political statement whereby the anti-gun plaintiffs are cast as the good guys and the gun company cast as the bad guys. But its really unfortunate if people go away from this film thinking that. A real argument for gun control would take the form of a documentary or a book, not a movie. This film doesn't provide many complicated arguments for gun control besides a few summary statistics that are not in question.
What it does instead is take a generic issue-in this case it's gun control but it could be anything- which sets up a populist "people against the powerful" or analogously "good versus evil" dichotomy. On the one side there is the cynical Rankin Fitch (Gene Hackman) who has no conscience and seems to exist only for power and glory. He's portrayed as a corroded, self-destructive character but extremely powerful because of his lack of scruples. On the other hand there is the naive moralist crusader in prosecuting attorney Wendell Rohr (Dustin Hoffman), who wants to do the right thing but can't win the case because he's too principled. He believes in the justice system (symbolized by a statue of blind lady justice) but doesn't realize the system is fundamentally corrupted. He'd rather lose the case than subvert the system, because in his mind the ends do not justify the means. What this means is that justice is never truly achieved. But what about the victims who suffer personally from the loss of justice? And what is really the right balance in navigating the thin line between the ends and the means? That is truly the factor X in this film. Look for the metaphors and allegories that pop up from time to time.
This movie truly did not have to be about guns. It could have been about any issue, any form of injustice, real or perceived. I'm afraid many people will simply look at this as a gun movie and the one-sided focus on a hot button political issue has ruined the potential appreciation in the deeper themes. That's because as Rankin Fitch knows, most movie viewers, like jurors, are not "King Solomon," but just people who see the action and take in the political slant. There is always a reward for those who look deeper....more info
- Typical anti-gun bias!
This is one of the worst movies I've seen in years. It's about a law suit against a gun company that knowingly manufactured assualt weapons to sell to criminals for violent use. I'm no expert on guns, but I do know that these so called assualt weapons account for less than one percent of homicides in the U.S. I also know that decent citizens use guns everyday to protect themselves from violent criminals, most of these criminals obtain their guns illegaly. This movie portrays the gun manufactures as pure evil, while portraying the anti-gun crowd as angels. What can you expect from the liberal Hollywood crowd!...more info
- Great Deal !
A very good buy ! The DVD is in like new condition. Shipment was fast. Total cost was less than renting a movie. What more could you ask for?!...more info
- The jury is still out with this one.
Derivative John Grisham thriller that puts the gun manufactures on trail but lacks enough evidence to not only put on a compelling case but lacks enough of a punch to put on a good show. Gene Hackman, Rachel Weisz and Dustin Hoffman do their best with what is given but they are working with a script that not only lacks teeth but also lacks a real story to work with. The setting of the film is distracting to the point of nasal, which is pretty bad considering that New Orleans is a great place to behold. The book which this movie came from had enough intelligence and heart to make a real and compelling movie but the studio seem like they wanted to please someone and just thou out everything that made that novel great for this. I wonder who did the studio try to please? Hmmm, Paging Michel Moore Please...
Talk about conspiracy theories.
- The Best Acting You'll See!
I've never read the book and I understand people not being happy if the movie is different than the book but you can't deny the great acting which is what makes this movie so great. I am really surprised this movie is not more popular than what it is. This is one of my favorite movies. The acting is real and the movie is intense. The movie makes what would seem like such a unbelievable story seem very possible. This is certainly one of the most edge of your seat trial movies made. If you're a fan of terrific acting, this movie is for you. When the movie was over, it left me wanting more. I wanted to see another showdown trial between Hoffman & Hackman, these guys define the role of acting!...more info
- 2 Hours of your life wasted
Don't let the cast of actors or the author (John Grisham) fool you, this movie is a complete and boring dud. I had high expectations with the all-star cast and have always been a huge fan of Gene Hackman and John Cusak but this movie lacked credibility and realism.
Hollywood is known for far fetched plots but this one takes it to a new level. Save your time and money and skip this one....more info
- This movie is great.
Suspense, action, and romance, you have to watch this movie twice to understand every bit of it. Very deeply overlayed. A play of ideas at it's most dramatic....more info
- Great Acting Ruined By Politics
Stellar performances by all actors and actresses involved in this movie are ruined by the sheer ignorance of the topic. Not one single "fact" about guns contained in this movie was true and at the end of the film I had nothing but an overwhelming feeling that the bad guys had clearly won. What a crock!...more info
- Great movie and excellent story line.
While a long way from what the book was about. Cusack, Hackman, Hoffman and Rachel Weisz all play masterful roles in this twister of a plot. Very good movie that I will watch over and over. David beats the Gun Lobby boys at thier own game. This is a classic David vs Goliath story. With Cusack and Weisz battling Hackman with guile and guts. ...more info
- Bleeding-Heart liberal Hollywood perversion of a good John Grisham story
I have been a staunch fan of Gary Fleder ever since "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead", but after seeing "I'll Never Tell" and this piece of sanctimonious, biased trash, my enthusiasm for him is waning.
I watch movies for entertainment. I resent it when movie makers use the venue to browbeat me with their social and political viewpoint, especially when they are sneaky about their motives. Movies like "Fahrenheit 911" are open and honest about their intentions...if you go, you KNOW what to expect, but movies like "Runaway Jury" and "The China Syndrome" are not. You buy/rent/watch for entertainment, but instead are subjected to the totally biased, often inaccurate opinions and viewpoints of the moviemakers. They lure you in with the promise of entertainment and then bury you with their biased dogma. I seem to recall that a number of Hollywood notables promised to leave the country if political events didn't go their way....instead, they stayed home and made movies like this.
The original (and infinitely superior) story was based on "Big Tobacco" companies and the callous tactics they use to hook new smokers and maximize profit without concern for the 300,000 deaths their addictive product causes every year. I think everyone agrees that they are cads....their product, even when properly used, is lethal. They lied, they concealed facts, and they lost their case. But since smoking has been thoroughly discredited, the Hollywood liberals decided to modify this story and use it as their soapbox to present a case against another pet peeve of theirs: the private ownership of firearms. In their minds, murderers are not solely responsible for their crimes....everyone from the manufacturer of the car they drove to the crime, to the manufacturer of the weapon (gun, knife, baseball bat, etc.) they used also share in the blame. It should be noted that collateral guilt is always directed at unsympathetic, wealthy organizations that can easily be attacked for huge financial settlements....no guilt is ever attached to the poor taxi driver who drove the murderer to the scene of the crime.
To further their biased cause, in this screed, the firearm manufacturers (i.e. "villains") are depicted as slimy, hateful weasles who blythely ignore (indeed, celebrate) the illegal use of their product for evil, unintended purposes as long as the cash keeps flowing in. To escape responsibility for their "terrible crimes", they resort to an arrogant, cunning reptile (Gene Hackman) to help them thwart justice and rig the jury in their favor. Never mind that, to date, every jury that has heard this argument has rejected it....without "rigging".
A disgruntled former employee of an investment firm has purchased a firearm manufactured by the defendant's company and has used it to murder several co-workers before committing suicide. Since the murderer is not available to pay for his crime, or even if he were, it is obvious (to the liberal mindset) that the (wealthy) original manufacturer of the tool used in the crime must also pay....and pay big. Predictably, the ability to pay a huge settlement seems to be the primary criteria for attack.
Naturally, the poor, innocent, lovely plaintiff and her honest, underdog attorney (Dustin Hoffman), are depicted as honorable angels, just trying to set things right (and, of course, make a hundred million or so dollars in the process). The entire presentation is so blatantly biased that there is absolutely no doubt who will win the case....there is NO suspense. This is NOT a mystery or a drama, it is a political statement by a group of confused individuals who do not believe in personal responsibility or freedom of choice....unless of course the choice is one with which they agree.
There is no denying that the movie is well directed, the acting is generally excellent, and the cinematography is superb (hence the 2 stars instead of zero)...but zealots are always most convincing when they have a personal stake in the message.
Gary, my man, quit wasting your great skills on lousy, biased stories and get back to making exciting, entertaining movies...and Hollywood, quit taking yourselves so seriously. You tend to be a bunch of egotistical, opinionated clowns who should keep your politics to yourselves and stick to your one, true talent...entertaining those who pay your bills....more info
- Pushing Hollywood's anti-gun agenda
The whole purpose of this film is to push Hollywood's anti-gun agenda. The film is well-acted, but the message, which is its only reason for existence, is to attack the firearms industry. The industry is made out to be wealthy, and is using a corrupt jury expert (Gene Hackman) to blackmail and otherwise get control of the jury, which is, of course, a crime.
The hero (Dustin Hoffman) is trying to win a lawsuit against a firearms company, accused of selling "assault weapons" to the criminal element, so that the widow of a young broker who was killed by a disgruntled former employee, can benefit with a multi-million dollar settlement.
The evil Hackman, and also the upstanding Hoffman, are approached by a couple of young people who are offering, for $10 million, to swing the jury for them. Hoffman, being an honorable, law-abiding lawyer, refuses. But the evil minion of the firearms industry (Hackman) agrees, of course, since he will stoop to anything.
Problems with the story: Every semi-automatic firearm is depicted as an "assault" weapon. In fact, an actual assault weapon, as defined by the military, is capable of full automatic fire, as well as burst, and semi-automatic fire. To own such a firearm, United States law requires a $200 license and an investigation of the licensee's character and past history. Such a legally owned firearm has never been used in a crime in the United States.
Nor is the firearms industry composed of "fat cats." Indeed, many of the companies have been driven into bankruptcy, and the remaining ones--famous manufacturers of some of our most historic firearms, like Colt and Smith & Wesson--have nearly been destroyed defending themselves against greedy lawyers, class action suits, and frivolous lawsuits brought by government bodies. Left-wing Hollywood is fomenting such efforts.
Also ignored is that Second Amendment to the United Statesd Constitution, which permits all citizens to own and carry firearms. The story line would penalize that right, illegally punishing the constitututionally protected firearms industry for selling perfectly legal devices designed for self-defense that function exactly as advertised, in good working order, because they were used for illegal purposes over which the manufacturer has no control.
Like sueing General Motors because one of its products, in good working order, was used in a hit-and-run, or as a getaway car in a bank robbery.
The firearms industry has, indeed, been sued a number of times by firearms haters. They have never won such a case, however, for the above reasons. They continue to try, however, and it has cost the industry substantial amounts to protect itself from such frivolous lawsuits.
Oddly enough, Hollywood is heavily populated with people, including many top actors, who claim to hate firearms, and would like to disarm the United States' population. Yet, it is a rare film that does not depict firearms violence by these very people, along with reckless driving episodes endangering the public--the obligatory car chase. They ca't seem to make a film without such elements. In this film, the figures given arguing that the deaths by gun violence are 30,000 a year, are grossly inflated and are pure Hollywood propaganda, and of course the National Rifle Association is singled out and comes in for its share of abuse. You would never know that it was praised by the Presidents of the United States after both World Wars for its patriotic endeavors, and had as its president three Congressional Medal of Honor holders; not exacrly a subversive organization!
So, I am giving this film only one star, strictly on account of the propaganda and the agenda driven story. The acting was certainly adequate, and the direction was not at fault. But propaganda films do not rate higher, with me at least. I was blind-sided. I would never have bought the film had I known what they were pushing. I'm sorry I did.
Joseph (Joe) Pierre
author of Handguns and Freedom...their care and maintenance
and other books...more info
- Lacks punch
The movie is a good production, good acting and all but for some reason it lacks overall punch or appeal and once seen, it will probably end up just collecting dust. For me it's definitely not a movie that I'd be interested in watching again and I've seen a lot more interesting and better movies at my time....more info
- Even with the best of intentions, this is still a bad film.
Long winded yet well acted courtroom drama that preaches its message than give a real argument about the facts. The movie does not even stay true to the novel that was written because the original core of the novel was about the tobacco industry not the gun manufactures. Even so, the acting is the only good thing that this movie has with great turns from Gene Hackman, who has not giving a better performance in a long time and Rachel Weisz, who not only steals the film from the great teaming of Hackman and Dustin Hoffman but outdoes them in spades in the dramatic department as well. She single handily makes this film a much better experience than it really is and that's a huge accomplishment considering the fact that the movie does breakdown after the third act and the script does not try to even explain itself after a while. This could have been a better film but with a low caliber script and a storyline that confuses more than explains, the movie only has the acting to truly carry it and for that, it gets three stars from me. If it were not for the great performances of Rachel Weisz, Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman, who mind you is not in the movie very much at all, this would have been a one star review very easily. That's how bad the rest of the film is. ...more info
- Even worse than expected (and that's saying something for a Grisham movie...)
How much you will ridicule this movie depends mainly on your background, and whether you have much if any experience with the legal system, or if you are the kind that thinks People Magazine is worthwhile reading material outside of a waiting room environment.
In typical John Grisham fashion, the characters are one-dimensional cardboard props less complex or insightful than a calendar, the conflict is a one-sided strident advocacy that cartoonishly portrays any views outside its own as being morally and intellectually bereft, and the level of cerebral involvement is geared down heavily for the soap opera fan demographic it's intended for (which is slightly below that of a well-trained rescue animal or seeing-eye dog). What makes this the most banal and absurd of John Grisham's adaptations to date (and that's saying something), is the utter and abject lapses of plausible premise and its detachment from grown-up reality.
Don't get me wrong - as an avid movie fan who has seen hundreds (if not thousands) of movies, I am all for creative license and the occasional departure from strict reality-based storytelling. Rilly! But Grisham's claim to fame is his legal background, and for someone who takes himself so seriously as a legal professional and novelist, it's asking a little too much to expect esteem and praise for this absurd amalgam of soap opera /soft-minded editorializing rant/ unintentional self-satire.
In fairness, I did not read the book, and am not commenting on that since I'm not sure how much of the blame falls on the book, and how much of this is due to the vapid screenplay. But I did watch the movie. And having served that sentence, I have earned the right to comment on its sheer absurdity.
Rather than give a detailed treatment of the story, I will summarize its plot and remarkable foibles. WARNING: SPOILER TO FOLLOW (although you probably could have figured out the "twist" very early in the film.) John Cusack is a con artist who gets "selected" on juries throughout the country for the purpose of swinging a jury towards a verdict by persuading all of its members. His plan is to extract payment through a mixture of extortion and auctioneering, as carried out by his partner (Rachel Weisz). How does he expect to control a verdict's outcome? By applying his limited charm, which is repeatedly but unconvincingly demonstrated through the trial. Smart (or at least semi-lucid) people realize the odds of being selected for a jury are VERY low even if you live in a small town. They are infinitesimal if you are in large cities, where Cusack's character repeatedly plies his trade. It is also probably understood that the notion of someone predictably influencing a jury is perhaps plausible if threats of violence are involved rather than Cusack's marginal charisma. And not least of all is the part where his identity and scheme are discovered by the defense team, though not soon after blatantly drawing attention to himself by pissing off the judge. Yet, the defense says nothing about this multiple-felony conduct which could effect the trial for a lot less money than the $10Million being demanded.
How does the story handle this Marianas Trench-sized gap in logic? By replacing its characters with one-dimensional caricatures that embody virtue or avarice (depending on where they philosophically fall in this heavily slanted editorial piece) and who guide the film to its outcome with all the validity and credibility of a Ouija board.
Finally, the defendant's legal team utilizes a level of ultra- (no, make that hyper-) sophisticated real-time surveillance and research resources. Their whole case is anchored around a jury expert (Gene Hackman) and his team of cyber whizzes and shady operatives who capriciously resort to violence and vandalism. It is an unhinged conspiracy buff's paranoid fantasy. The least important member of the legal team is the attorney - I kid you not! If our government had these assets, we would win both the wars against drugs and terrorism faster than this excremental movie went straight to the rental shelf.
As ludicrous as all the other facets of this movie are, the weakest may be the ending, which reveals Cusack&Weisz's connection to the case a decade earlier. With all the omniscience at their disposal, the defense team doesn't solve this monochromatic Rubic's cube until after the predictable and inane verdict is rendered.
Our legal system is a remarkable thing. It is fascinating in its principles and premise, though less entertaining in its application. The writers have taken some ridiculous liberties in the far-fetched and FAILED attempt to make it an engaging and interesting story. That is their job and indeed their right to do so. I just do not think something so slapdash and inferior should be lauded or rewarded. ...more info
- Gene Hackman & Dustin Hoffman finally Together
this is the first movie that Gene Hackman & Dustin Hoffman two most legendary movie stars out there have finally stared in a movie together & have an outstanding 7 Minute Scene Together. This is a very good movie. I liked the susspense and the shocking ending to the movie. I hope the book is just as good or better. This movie is real enjoyable. I recomend it.
If you liked this movie check out the book and soundtrack. ...more info
- Interesting adaptation with an average ending
As someone who has never been a huge Grishom fan, I somehow let myself miss this movie until last night. As this is the only Grishom book that I have actually read, I was very interested in seeing how the adaptation was done.
The movie opened with a deranged day trader opening fire on his stockbroker's office. Since the book has no no day traders, mass murders, or even the crime, I knew I was in for a different movie than I expected. That said, I think the movie was truthful to the spirit of the novel with the exception of the details in the ending. Speaking of the ending, I found that the energy and suspense were great and then the last five minutes were a let down. Two people clever enough to cause these events would have shown more class/creativity than they did in the movie. The book wins this part of the race hands down!
This movie did a great job of making us care about the plaintiff without having to slow down the story to show much of her. I know it is strange, but part of the brilliance of this story is that, even though it is a trial, the plaintiff and the defendant are minor characters!
Gene Hackman was great as usual, and I thought that Dustin Hoffman did a great job with a lighter character. The special features make a huge deal about this being their first meeting in a scene together. The rest of the acting was decidedly 3 stars, not horrible yet not inspiring either.
Overall, I would recommend that, if this is your type of movie, that you see it. This is not good enough to coerce a date or anyone else that is reluctant to see, though.
I hope that my first review has helped you make a decision on this movie!...more info
- Hollywood happened again
This movie was a good example of Hollywood ruining a good book. The book was fantastic and the ending was great so of course Hollywood had to mess it up in the movie. Also, they changed the court case to guns instead of smoking, I guess since many in Hollywood probably smoke but most agree on gun control. The acting was pretty good and the action was decent too so not all bad....more info
"A juror on the inside, and a woman on the outside manipulate a court trial involving a major gun manufacturer." That is the plot outline Amazon gives and from what I remember, that's pretty accurate. I saw this movie right when it came out on DVD a while back. I mean, you've got to be tempted by the cast which includes Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz and John Cusack. Pretty impressive. Ok, the cast is fine but what's the problem, the movie! It's plain boring, stupid and well BORING. By looking at the cast, I forgot about one very important detail: based on the novel by John Grisham. I've never read one of his books and really never intend to because after seeing this and The Firm, WOW. Gene Hackam must really like his books..because I don't know why he'd accept to be in such horrid movies. Anyway, do yourself a favor and just act like this doesn't even exist. ...more info
- Whichever way you swing the verdict this movie disappoints
A family man is gunned down in his offices by a recently axed employee. He left behind a wife and a young child. Cut to two years later and the wife and her attorney Rohr (Dustin Hoffman) are hoping to make history by making the gun company that sold and manufactured the murder weapon liable for the crime. Since this has never before been attempted the gun company hire a little extra protection in the menacing form of Rankin Fitch (Gene Hackman). For the right price he can handpick twelve people that will be easily exploited into voting whichever way his employers want. The only juror who stands out is Nick Easter (John Cusack). He is a rebel who initially frustrates and confuses Fitch but soon both Rohr and Fitch realize that Easter is crucial to their cause. He has the power to get his fellow jurors to follow his lead whether it be picking a blind man to be the jury foreman or pledging allegiance in court to remember a dead comrade. Easter along with his girlfriend, the mysterious Marlee (Rachel Weisz), have their own reasons for seeing that the right person pays for the crime. Together the two offer to sell to either Fitch or Rohr the jury for $50,000. This adaptation of the John Grisham book is just a boring film that makes such a big deal about the first onscreen teaming of former roommates Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman. They have only one scene together which takes place in a courthouse bathroom. It is laughable for many reasons one in particular is the sheer height difference between the two men. Hackman acts larger than life in this film all threatening and menacing while Hoffman is left to play it short and vulnerable. The twelve jurors are sure to make any man angry since they are so stereotypical and poorly acted. There are a few funny scenes between Cusack and the Judge (Bruce McGill) and Hackman is fun to watch as he yells at people and throws phones around but this film is a boring and disappointing courtroom thriller....more info