Movie Review: A Time To KillI never read A Time To Kill by John Grisham because the book bored me. But Iwonder why it did bore me because the movie was engrossing and entertaining. Maybe it is because Akiva Goldsman took out most of the boring parts. I usuallylove Grisham, but this book was just too slow.
However, another thing that madethe movie more entertaining is the actors. The movie begins with the rape scene that you have probably heard about. If youhaven’t, it’s a quick-edited scene so it doesn’t show much, but still makes yourstomach churn. Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) describes it graphically inhis summation.
Anyway, what makes the scene so shocking is that it is a 10 yearold girl being raped. The two men are captured and while ascending a staircasefor their preliminary trial, the girl’s father, Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson), runs out of a closet with a gun and shoots the two men and a cop. Thetwo men die and the cop has his leg amputated. This sets off the main plot of the story. Hailey gets Brigance to defend him forvirtually nothing.
During a courtroom scene, Eileen Roarke (Sandra Bullock, in asurprisingly small role for having top billing) helps Brigance to get the trialmoved to another town. Unfortunately, the judge (Patrick McGoohan) decidesagainst moving the trial. Brigance needs to get a jury of young, married menwith children. What does he get? A jury of women and old men. So Brigance hashis work cut out for him, especially when he is up against the cruel andcheating Rufus Buckley (Kevin Spacey). The film moves along quickly, which I wasn’t expecting.
The movie is 145 minuteslong, but it seems shorter than this. The book is over 500 pages, so Goldsmanhad his work cut out for him. But he did a great job and made the movie moreentertaining than the book. As I said, the actors must have had something to dowith it as well. Matthew McConaughey is superb as Brigance. This is his firstmovie and it will probably make him famous.
His summation is one of the bestparts of the movie. He says it with great emotion that, not only can the juryrelate with, but so can the audience. Samuel L. Jackson is always good and there is one particular scene where hegives a small talk to Brigance.
It is powerful, even if it is short. That’s howgood Jackson is. Sandra Bullock, in a supporting role, is charming as always. Kevin Spacey, in his first role since The Usual Suspects, is okay but not asbrilliant as his Oscar winning performance from his last film. Keifer Sutherlandis just plain mean as the Ku Klux Klan member. And Donald Sutherland is good asthe drunken teacher of Brigance.
A Time To Kill is rated R. There is a fair amount of violence and language, andthe rape scene is pretty graphic for what they could show. But the performances(especially by McConaughey) are outstanding and the story is quick-paced. Thisis the worst of Grisham’s movies (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, and The Client)but by far the most powerful and emotional.Music and Movies