Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Time to Kill (1996)

Director: Joel Schumacher
Writers:  John  Grisham, Akiva Goldsman
Cast:       Matthew McConaughey, Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock, Kevin Spacey

A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of KKK. 

Film is an adaptation of John Grisham's novel by the same name and it is one of the better adaptations of his novels to the screen. Apart from this I have seen 'The Rainmaker', 'The Pelican Brief' and 'The Firm' and not surprisingly Rainmaker is the best directed one out of these which is not surprising since it is a Coppola film. The only novel out of these that I have read is 'The Firm' which I think was recommended to me by my good friend Kieve (or was it 'Silence of the Lambs'). 

The film is around two and hours long and I didn't mind its length since it is not just concentrating purely on the court trial. Joel Schumacher is not a grade A director and you are not expecting a cinematic masterpiece from him but what you get is a solid enough film which is a good one-time watch. Film was a commercial success and it got some criticisms due to what some people would perceive as glorification of vigilantism. I don't understand these glorifying accusations that people make against films in general. I can understand it when people are talking about children's films but as an adult you are supposed to be able to form opinions and the films just need to make you think about all these dilemmas if at all it is supposed to make you think. What it made me think about is the American jury system with which I have always been uncomfortable with. Is it better to rely on a judge like we do in India and hope that the institution don't get corrupted or have s system like in US where you rely on a citizen jury knowing that everyone is prone to biases and many irrational things cloud our judgement.

'A Time to Kill' and 'Dazed & Confused' are cited as McConaughey's better works before he hit his McConaissance. He is playing another one of his stereotypical heavily accented man from redneck part of America. But I have to say his best performance in a lawyer role would be in Richard Linklater's 'Bernie'.

Rating: 3.5/5