A man who apparently without a background (John Kusack) is picked for jury duty on a trial that has national attention, but he is not there to serve justice. He is there to do what is right, depending on how lawyers on either side pays him and his partner (Rachel Weisz).
They try to make a deal with either side of the case, lead by two lawyers (Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman) who want more than anything to win by manipulating the jury. However, the lawyers are trying to do the same thing.
The hardest part of this movie is to believe that lawyers actually spy on protential jurors. It's even harder to believe that they know who has been randomly selected for jury duty, because it's a secret.
The acting is one of the few good points in this movie. The performances from Hackman and Hoffman, as expected, are great. Weiz and Kusack are do a good job. The other actors who play the other jurors, some of which you've seen in minor roles of many other movies, also do fine performances. The only problem with the other jurors is only a small portion have limited character development, but not enough.
"Runaway Jury" is wonderfully edited. There are many quick takes when characters are interacting over the telephone, and they are put together quite well.
Another problem I had was that Hoffman and Hackman's characters only looked at each other, and didn't interact. I wish Hackman was cast in the role of the lawyer assigned to try the case as the plantiff's lawyer. Those two would have done some memorable courtroom scenes as competing lawyers, but it was never meant to be.
If you could suspend your belief, which is hard to do with this movie, then it's passable as a pretty good movie. I would not suggest you buy this one, but you might check it out at your local video rental shop.