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Like many of its predecessors, this John Grisham adaptation is blessed with a cast of the great (Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman) and the good (John Cusack, Rachel Weisz). A New Orleans woman files a suit against the gun industry (interestingly, it was the tobacco conglomerates in Grisham's original novel) after her husband is murdered during a madman's shooting spree. Unfortunately for the widow and her idealistic lawyer Wendall Rohr (Hoffman), the firearms lobby has hired ruthless "jury consultant" Rankin Fitch (Hackman) and his crack surveillance team to ensure the people chosen are predisposed to the "right" verdict. But, before you can say
12 Angry Men
, into the mix comes John Cusack as a juror who is not at all what he seems. Cue machinations, manipulations, twists and counter-twists that are guaranteed to keep the audience off balance. Director Gary Fleder - who made a name for himself with
Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead
- has produced a well-crafted and efficient Hollywood entertainment here, despite the odd implausible plot point and simplistic central message (guns are bad, principles are good). The big disappointment has to be the lacklustre head-to-head between Hollywood giants Hoffman and Hackman that promised much but fell far short of the must-see Pacino/De Niro eyeballer in Michael Mann's
A woman sets in motion a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the manufacturer of the gun that was used to kill her husband - but her actions spark an unexpected series of events when a jury consultant for the defence tries to buy the verdict his clients want. Thriller, adapted from a novel by John Grisham, starring John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz and Bruce Davison.
Cast & Crew
20th Century Fox
Some violence and swearing.
video, DVD and Blu-ray
16 Jan 2004
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