Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
I'm not here to discuss the case that this book was based on (and upon which the movie was in turn based on). I have no desire at the moment to get into gun laws at all. Oh, I have decidedly pointed views on that whole thing, views involving personal responsibility, but that's not why I'm here. Today, class, I shall pontificate upon the tampering of juries.
You think your average juror is King Solomon? No, he's a roofer with a mortgage. He wants to go home and sit in his Barcalounger and let the cable TV wash over him. And this man doesn't give a single, solitary droplet of shit about truth, justice or your American way.
You see, one of the points of this tale is how easy it really is to sway a jury. And make no mistake, juries can and are swayed every day. This movie shows both sides battling to get the jury in a high profile case to go their way, and not necessarily through legal argument in the courtroom. Both sides hire a Jury Selection Specialist to help them in figuring which members to toss and which to keep. That part is legit. It's big business.
Where the movie gets really interesting is when you realize that Gene Hackman is going above and beyond the selection process for his client. He can get the goods on anybody and he knows how to use those goods. He's used to his juries pretty much falling in step just as they always have... but this time there's a new boy in town in the persona of John Cusak.
Cusak actually gets on the jury himself and oh man is he a piece of work to watch in action. He can play a room full of people like a fine fiddle. He owns those folks. The question of the movie is, which way will he get them to vote?
Now, all the players here did a fantastic job in their roles. I might even go as far as to say this is the role where Cusak really showed what he's capable of. I was highly impressed with both his acting ability and with the psychological manipulative prowess of his character. Perfect.
Hackman is his usual slime ball and does not disappoint there at all. He's such a sleeze that you want to believe that folks like this don't exist, but they do.
Dustin Hoffman is the supposed good guy in this one, and he just may be, depending on which side of the gun fence you fall on. At any rate he thinks he's in the right and fighting the good fight.
Now, the point I wish to get through to a few of you is this: Although this is a work of fiction, it is based in reality. This does happen. Juries can be made to vote just about any way ya want them too with the right tactics. All I'm saying is that just because a jury says someone may be innocent does not make it so. It's all for show, my friends. The Justice System is full of holes.
Luckily Runaway Jury doesn't go about making this case so straight forward though. There are plenty of twists here to make ya happy and keep you guessing until the last bit. Along the way we're treated to some very nice shots of New Orleans.
This one is Rated PG-13 for violence, language and thematic elements. Yeah well... I'm thinkin that about 13 and up is about right and they may have an interest in it, and none of that stuff is gonna harm their little psyches one iota.
I'm giving this one 5 stars just for having the balls to approach the subject at all. That they did it in such an interesting and edge-of-your seat way just enforces those stars. I'm saying this is a must-see and adding it to my Best of 2003 list.
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