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The Client

  • Drama
  • Crime/detective
  • 1994
  • Joel Schumacher
  • 115 mins
  • 15


Thriller based on the novel by John Grisham, starring Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones and Brad Renfro. Young Mark Sway attracts the attention of both the law and the Mafia when he inadvertently witnesses the suicide of a Mob defence lawyer. The lawyer has passed on to Mark the location of a murdered senator, information that makes the boy and his family a target for sinister forces. Realising he needs protection, Mark enlists the help of attorney Reggie Love.

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A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Adaptations of John Grisham novels can be divided roughly into two types. There are the big stars, big directors and big conspiracies of The Firm and The Pelican Brief, then there are the equally starry but smaller scale, more "human" films, of which this is probably the first. Here, Susan Sarandon plays the little-league lawyer who takes on the case of her career when young Brad Renfro, who has inadvertently witnessed a Mob-related suicide, asks her to represent him. She soon finds herself up against the full might of the legal establishment, led by ambitious federal attorney Tommy Lee Jones, while at the same time trying to protect her youthful client from vengeful Mafia hitman Anthony LaPaglia. Director Joel Schumacher isn't exactly noted for his subtlety, but he makes a pretty good go of producing a believable relationship between the stubborn but lonely Sarandon and the rebellious Renfro. He also makes excellent use of the Memphis locations and serves up some expertly staged action sequences, the best of which is a gripping chase through a hospital. The plotting takes some swallowing, but Sarandon is as truthful as ever, while her young co-star gives an amazingly mature performance. Jones and LaPaglia make the most of their more flamboyant roles and there are also impeccable turns from a supporting cast (including JT Walsh, Mary-Louise Parker, Ossie Davis and Anthony Edwards) that most directors would give their right arm for. The film spawned a TV series, with JoBeth Williams in the Sarandon role.

How to watch





Reggie LoveSusan Sarandon
Roy FoltriggTommy Lee Jones
Dianne SwayMary-Louise Parker
Barry MuldanoAnthony LaPaglia
McThuneJ T Walsh
Clint Von HooserAnthony Edwards
Mark SwayBrad Renfro
Sergeant HardyWill Patton
Thomas FinkBradley Whitford
TrumannAnthony Heald
Paul GronkeKim Coates
DoreenKimberly Scott
Ricky SwayDavid Speck
Dr GreenwayWilliam H Macy
Judge Harry Roosevelt Ossie Davis
Momma Love Micole Mercurio
Wally BoxxWilliam Sanderson
Romey CliffordWalter Olkewicz
KarenAmy Hathaway
ClaudetteJo Harvey Allen


DirectorJoel Schumacher


Theatrical distributor
Warner Bros
Released on
Violence, some swearing.
Available on
video and DVD
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