A Time to Kill Reviews
Due to the number of witnesses Jake has no choice, but to say that Carl was temporarily insane when he committed the crime. Due to the location of the murder, Canton Mississippi, Jake feels he must move the trial to a different location, but the stubborn old judge denies him. What the film focuses on more than the trial, is the politics behind the scenes as the nature of the case leads to a racial war. The south and the KKK all stir in an effort to get behind this case, while the NAACP, feels it is a case they must win as well. All of the politics and racial controversy with the case only builds on the pressure of the case. Jake starts getting death threats, his house is burned down and he is assaulted himself. Despite all this intimidation, he feels the need to continue the trial. He enlists a clever young woman Ellen Roark (Sandra Bullock), and has his trusty law professor Lucien Wilbanks (Donald Sutherland) on his side. The two must face the tough prosecutor D.A. Rufus Buckley (Kevin Spacey), and the constant violent threats of a young militant racist Freddie Lee Cobb (Kiefer Sutherland).
A Time to Kill is a solid rendition in what is one of Grisham's best books. The star-studded cast does a reasonable job of capturing the essence of the book. Initially the film is more about the hype of the trial and how it scales to get national attention, similar to the O. J. Simpson trial. The trial itself is well played out as well, featuring good cross examinations from both parties. The final closing statement by McConaughey is powerful and an excellent point. The film works because the book itself was brilliant, and the movie can stand alone for those who have not read it. A Time to Kill is a pretty solid courtroom drama, that is unique in depicting some of the background elements of the case.
A Time To Kill is a compelling, well told, superbly acted film that not only is well worth a look, but also bears repeat viewing. I'd even go so far as to say that, despite its flaws, I love this movie a little bit.
'A Time to Kill' is in need of significant fine tuning but the racially motivated crime narrative on offer is very strong. Samuel L.Jackson hires the services of Matthew McConaughy's lawyer after he goes on trial for killing his daughter's white rapists. The discussions of vigilante justice, though not in-depth, are thought-provoking and the events depicting the wider public aftermath ignited by the litigation do well to shock viewers. Despite appearing to have all the necessary elements for a racial discrimination in Southern America premise, they should have dedicated more time on making these elements better. The Klu Klux Klan are too often treated as pantomime villains, meaning its hard to take them seriously even though we really should given their actions. Kevin Spacey slightly overcooks it when playing the prosecuting lawyer, trying too hard to come across as a dickhead. Furthermore, vocabulary is kept rather simple, meaning we never explore below the surface of most characters. It is only at the end where, in typical Samuel L.Jackson fashion, we get an enlightening speech which highlights an insightful observation of the racism issue. As a result, this story echoing 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is not told in the most poetic manner but manages to hold onto enough of the emotional power inherent to its factual setting.
There were a series of overwhelmingly powerful scenes and monologues, and the story as a whole was engaging - as most any dramatic courtroom saga is - but I felt dissatisfied in the end. While I recognize Grisham is the author and there was a need to stick to the original novel, I felt that a more powerful ending would've been for the final verdict to more accurately reflect our country's current state of race relations.
And, you know, for the case to have been closed as soon as the murderer admitted to what he was on trial for.