Film: Runaway Jury

Cover image
Film:

Runaway Jury

Director: Gary Fleder
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Based on the bestseller by John Grisham, Runaway Jury is a slick thriller that’s exciting enough to overcome the gaps in its plot. The ultimate target has been changed: Grisham’s legal assault on the tobacco industry was switched to the hot-button issue of gun control (no doubt to avoid comparison to The Insider) in a riveting exposé of jury-tampering. Gene Hackman plays the ultra-cynical, utterly unscrupulous pawn of the gun-makers, using an expert staff and advanced electronics to hand-pick a New Orleans jury that will return a favorable verdict;…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Based on the bestseller by John Grisham, Runaway Jury is a slick thriller that’s exciting enough to overcome the gaps in its plot. The ultimate target has been changed: Grisham’s legal assault on the tobacco industry was switched to the hot-button issue of gun control (no doubt to avoid comparison to The Insider) in a riveting exposé of jury-tampering. Gene Hackman plays the ultra-cynical, utterly unscrupulous pawn of the gun-makers, using an expert staff and advanced electronics to hand-pick a New Orleans jury that will return a favorable verdict; Dustin Hoffman (making his first screen appearance with real-life former roommate Hackman) defends the grieving widow of a gun-shooting victim with idealistic zeal, while maverick juror John Cusack and accomplice Rachel Weisz play both ends against the middle in a personal quest to hold gun-makers accountable. It’s riveting stuff, even when it’s obvious that Grisham and director Gary Fleder have glossed over any details that would unravel the plot’s intricate design. —Jeff Shannon

Barnes and Noble

The latest courtroom thriller adapted from a John Grisham novel is among the best this subgenre has to offer, being graced with a superior script, taut direction, and, above all, a sensational cast. Near-legendary tort lawyer Wendell Rohr (Dustin Hoffman) is using a shooting death to sue the gun manufacturer, in a test case with wide-ranging implications. The defendant hires jury consultant Rankin Fitch (Gene Hackman) to make sure that the jurors selected will be sympathetic to the gun lobby. Fitch’s shadowy campaign to influence the jury pool is upset by Nick Easter (John Cusack), a “wild card” deliberator with an agenda all his own. Brian Koppelman’s screenplay is crowded with colorful characters and incidents; you need a scorecard to keep up with everybody, and you dare not take your eye off the screen for a second, for fear of missing something that plays an important role in subsequent events. Under the direction of Gary Fleder, Runaway Jury crackles with tension, and this emotional urgency is forcefully conveyed by the actors—especially Hackman and Hoffman, whose confrontation in a courthouse men’s room is the movie’s undisputed highlight. Cusack has already displayed facility with morally ambiguous characters, and his performance as the secretly scheming juror is one of his finest. Also rating kudos are Rachel Weisz (playing Cusack’s girlfriend and accomplice), Bruce McGill (a stern judge), Bruce Davison (a weak defense attorney), Jeremy Piven, Nick Searcy, Jennifer Beals, and Joanna Going. This is a fairly conventional but commendably slick piece of mainstream moviemaking, and as popcorn thrillers go, it’s way above average. Ed Hulse

Related Works

Album:Runaway Jury: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Runaway Jury: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Christopher Young

Book:The Runaway Jury

The Runaway Jury

John Grisham

They are at the center of a multimillion dollar legal hurricane: twelve men and women who have been investigated, watched, manipulated, and harassed by high-priced lawyers and consultants who will stop at nothing to secure a verdict. Now that the jury must make a decision in the most explosive trial of the century, a precedent-setting lawsuit against a giant tobacco company. But only a handful of people know the truth: that this jury has a leader, and the verdict belongs to him…

He is known only as Juror #2. But he has a name, a past, and he has planned his every move with the help of a beautiful woman on the outside. Now, while a corporate empire hands in the balance, while a grieving family waits, and while lawyers are plunged into a battle for their careers, the truth about Juror #2 is about to explode, in a cross fire of greed and corruption—and with justice fighting for its life…

Views: 296 • Modified: • Elapsed: 0.035 sec