Another Friday night, another John Grisham legal potboiler from the 1990s – and I’m not complaining. Big-name directors queued up to make them: Sydney Pollack (The Firm), Francis Ford Coppola (The Rainmaker), even Robert Altman (The Gingerbread Man). In 1994, it was the turn of Joel Schumacher (Flatliners, Falling Down), who reined in his more excessive, camp tendencies for The Client, for me one of the best of the bunch. Southern melodrama pervades the Tennessee-set tale of an 11-year-old (Brad Renfro) who hires lawyer Susan Sarandon to protect him from harm after he witnesses the suicide of the classic “man who knows too much”. Tommy Lee Jones is the federal prosecutor with political ambitions who sees the case as a stepping stone, while courtroom intrigue and Mob-related peril combine to lift the lid on a cesspit of corruption. The score, by David Cronenberg favourite Howard Shore, adds to the quality.
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