the Goliard

November 2003

the Goliard
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Runaway Jury
Adapted from the John Grisham novel of the same name (which is a pretty good read incidentally) Runaway Jury casts everyman John Cusack and his girlfriend Marlee against big time gun company money and the thugs it can buy. Gene Hackman plays the lead thug and jury consultant with Dustin Hoffman providing the prosecuting attorney. Cusack, using the name Nicholas Easter, infiltrates the jury pool and begins operating on the inside of the gun violence trial while Rachel Weisz (caution: link may contain nudity) assists him on the outside. Filmed in the heart of New Orleans, this movie is a joy to look at with the old court rooms and French Quarter charm. All the fake accents are a bit off putting (Weisz trying to sound American and Hoffman trying to sound southern for example which by the way is additionally disconcerting because he sounds exactly like his Dorothy Michaels character from Tootsie) but over all it comes off as a pretty good couple hours of entertainment. Grisham’s story idea is a good one and the screenwriters do a decent job of translating it to the screen even though it was big tobacco in the book instead of big guns. It is interesting to see the technology applied to jury selection whether it is an accurate depiction of the real world or not and what is at stake if one jury in one town would make a damaging ruling against corporate America. Having read the book first, obviously, detracted from the experience and some of the films mechanisms for tying up the loose ends are implausible but it it still not a bad way to spend an evening.




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