The Pelican Brief - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Pelican Brief Reviews

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Emanuel Levy
June 18, 2011
A routine thriller, curiosuly disappointing from Alan Pakula that even stars like Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts can't rescue
Full Review | Original Score: C
Joyce Slaton
Common Sense Media
January 2, 2011
Talky political thriller won't engage kids.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Tim Brayton
Antagony & Ecstasy
January 14, 2010
If I would still call it one of Pakula's very best films since the end of the 1970s, that says far more about the decline of his career than anything else.
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
Walter Chaw
Film Freak Central
April 1, 2009
If only The Pelican Brief were purposefully controversial.
Full Review | Original Score: 0.5/4

TV Guide
March 30, 2009
A shallow bore.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4

March 30, 2009
This is a standard Grisham pot-boiler.
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
March 30, 2009
It's too bad that Pakula allows this 1993 movie to dawdle after its climax, but prior to that he's adept at suggesting unseen menace and keeping things in motion.
Peter Canavese
Groucho Reviews
February 10, 2009
You'd think that Pakula would be just the man to tease the intellectual and emotional depth out of a Grisham potboiler, but you'd be wrong. [Blu-ray]
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Brian Lowry
November 5, 2008
Pakula has improved on Grisham's book by excising much of the detritus, crafting a taut, intelligent thriller that succeeds on almost every level.
Emanuel Levy
October 8, 2006
A curiously disappointing thriller from Alan Pakula, reaffirming the notion that John Gresham's best-selling novels are more fun to read (at the airport) than watch on the big screen, even if they star Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts.
Full Review | Original Score: C
JoBlo's Movie Emporium
May 5, 2006
Definitely an easy rental and a good way to drown a couple of hours if you're looking for a little suspense, some law stuff, lotsa secondary players and a couple of renowned leads delivering the goods.
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
Top Critic
Derek Adams
Time Out
February 9, 2006
An old hand at this sort of thing, Pakula goes through the motions, but not much more.
Eric Lurio
Greenwich Village Gazette
December 21, 2004
Julia good Denzel better.
| Original Score: 3/5
James Sanford
Kalamazoo Gazette
October 7, 2004
Good, albeit overlong Grisham thriller
| Original Score: 3/5
David Nusair
Reel Film Reviews
August 1, 2003
...serves as a Cliff's notes edition of the book.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Janet Maslin
New York Times
May 20, 2003
As the film piles on shovelfuls of further exposition, Mr. Washington and Ms. Roberts are left to look terrific and recite perfunctory lines.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Jeffrey M. Anderson
San Francisco Examiner
March 26, 2003
Bland, bloodless thriller.
| Original Score: 2/5
Shannon J. Harvey
Sunday Times (Australia)
February 10, 2003
Utterly confusing John Grisham story, with Roberts and Washington in full strereotype mode.
| Original Score: 3/5
Clint Morris
September 19, 2002
Middling thriller. Drags to say the least.
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
January 1, 2000
An unnecessarily-long thriller that contains far more talking than action.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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