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Runaway Jury
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Kiddie Movie: It's an adult story.
Date Movie: Bring them along.
Gratuitous Sex: Cusack and Weisz have a scene, but nothing that gratuitous.
Gratuitous Violence: You don't see it, but you know the dad gets a bullet.
Action: It's really a drama.
Laughs: A chuckle here and there.
Memorable Scene: Fitch orchestrating the investigation of the jury pool.
Memorable Quote: None really.
Directed By: Gary Fleder
Produced By: Arnon Milchan, Gary Fleder, Christopher Mankiewicz

Runaway Jury
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG-13

It's 2"07 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
There are some things in "Runaway Jury" that seem totally unbelievable, yet in a scary sort of way, they might actually be plausible. One thing, for example, is the ease at which Rankin Fitch (Gene Hackman) can document and investigate members of a jury pool and feed the information to the defense attorney so they can stock the jury in their favor. Utilizing standard surveillance and internet wizardry, along with high tech audio and video equipment, Fitch is confident the jury he picks will always go his way. Your first sense is "Oh, come on.", but then in the back of your head you might actually wonder if this stuff goes on. Alright, Iím getting a little ahead of myself in this review, so letís get you up to speed on the story.

"Runaway Jury" is based on the book with the same name from the great courtroom and lawyer writer John Grisham. It opens with a birthday party, dad going to work, and a mass shooting at work where dad gets killed. Well, lets not blame the dude doing the shooting, lets blame the gun manufacturer, and so itís a New Orleans lawyer versus the might of the gun manufacturers. But the movie isnít a simple as that, no this movie centers around jury selection and if itís possible to stack a jury in your favor by investigating the potential jurors beforehand and working to get them to be a part of the jury. The gun folks hire Rankin Fitch whose been doing this for years. His juries always go his way. Dustin Hoffman plays Wendall Rohr, heís the lawyer for the wife of the dead dad, and a bit naÔve. He believes in the justice system and doesnít believe a jury can be bought. Enter potential juror Nick Easter (John Cusack). He seems like your ordinary average guy, trying to get out of jury duty so he can play in the Madden video game challenge. But there are many twists in this story, the only one of which I will give away is that Nick and his girlfriend Marlee (Rachel Weisz) think they can sway the jury to either the defense or plaintiff, depending on who antes up the most money for them. Yup, for them itís about a five to ten million dollar payday depending on who bids higher, Fitch or Rohr. Fitch tries to show them whose boss, laying some heat on some of the final members of the jury (one lady overdoses because of him), but in the end Nick shows them all who is holding the cards. And thatís all I will give away because unless you read the book, this movie has you constantly wondering what is next, and is there some other thing down the road to twist things up more? The answer is yes, so donít be content thinking you know how things are going to end up.

This is a great courtroom drama that will keep you guessing and involved in the story. Much of that credit really goes to the quartet of Cusack, Hackman, Hoffman, and Weisz. Cusack plays a great every-man. Hackman comes off totally believable as the cocky Fitch, ever confident, ever in charge, and when things go bad you see a man who finally realizes his ego got in the way. Weisz always looks good and this time, as the master manipulator, shows she can play with the big boys. Lastly is Hoffman who is great as the lawyer who truly believes in his case, truly believes in the justice system, and although worried the jury can be bought, he still believes in the integrity of the jury.

Entertaining and riveting, I really enjoyed "Runaway Jury." The only problem I had was some of the over-the-top things, but I do see the necessity of them to make the story work. Itís 4 Ĺ stars out of 5 for "Runaway Jury."

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

 

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