This competent, anonymous legal drama (scripted by Michael Herr) is the best John Grisham adaptation yet. We're back in ingenue Southern lawyer territory, following law school grad Rudy Baylor (Damon) through his inaugural case to a mercurial triumph against the odds. So far, so insipid; thankfully, the story is less the usual addled potboiler than a diary of civil litigation - centring on Rudy's pursuit of a giant insurance company accused of stalling on health claims arising from policies marketed to the poor and unrepresented, such as his client Donny Ray Black (Whitworth). Rudy describes the dilemma of his calling in voice-over, musing over ideals and corruptions, compromises and lawyer jokes. His pilgrim's progress leads us through an entertaining gallery of lawyerly archetypes. There's the cynic, Rudy's long sold-out adversary Leo F Drummond (Voight); the corrupt, his low-life employer Bruiser Stone (Rourke); and the merely ignoble, his 'paralawyer' assistant Deck Schifflet (DeVito). There's a wider perspective on the legal action, too, counterpointing Rudy's 'rainmaking' lawsuit with both a damp squib of another case, and a subplot involving Danes' abused wife which suggests the limitations of the law.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Francis Ford Coppola|
|Screenwriter:||Francis Ford Coppola|
Mary Kay Place