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critics consensus

Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are a compelling team in the overlong Pelican Brief, a pulpy thriller that doesn't quite justify the intellectual remove of Alan J. Pakula's direction. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Taut thriller about a young law student whose legal brief about the assassination of two Supreme Court justices causes her to be targeted by killers. She realizes just how accurate her accusations have been when her lover and mentor is murdered. Forced to go on the run in New Orleans, she is aided by a journalist who helps her unravel a conspiracy involving senior government figures.

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Critic Reviews for The Pelican Brief

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (25)

Audience Reviews for The Pelican Brief

  • Nov 16, 2018
    A realistic conspiracy story that the audience can actually follow.
    Ed K Super Reviewer
  • Dec 28, 2010
    With so much happening on screen for a bloated running time of 141 minutes, it is easy to overlook the countless inconsistencies and stupidities of this half-baked conspiracy thriller that believes to be pretty clever but is filled with paper-thin characters who rarely behave smartly.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 16, 2010
    Pakula told this story somewhat before and that was "The Parallax View". "The Pelican Brief" is told again in a 90's linear fashion with two great leads who have real on screen chemistry. To bad they get into a Watergate-like situation that is way over their heads but then again there wouldn't be a movie to be told.
    Brian R Super Reviewer
  • Jul 19, 2010
    L'histoire dramatique est bien, cependant, le suspense dure trop longtemps. On ne sait pas du tout ce qu'est l'affaire pélican avant les 5-10 dernières minutes, ce qui est pour moi, beaucoup trop long. Si au moins on avançait légèrement dans l'histoire! Pour moi, il semble courir et se cacher pour fuir et par la suite, prendre les devant et en avoir le coeur net, sans nécessairement qu'on sache où tout cela se dirige. Dommage, car l'histoire aurait bien pu être plus excitante.
    Marc-André B Super Reviewer

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