This movie was so tremendously done. It is based on the first book ever written by John Grisham, the well-known author of The Firm, The Client, The Pelican Brief, The Chamber, etc. Surprisingly, however, this one's title does not begin with the article "The" but rather with another article: "A." Anyway, I sadly am unable to compare this movie with the book for I have not yet read it.
But perhaps not knowing how the movie would turn out facilitated my absolute absorption into the movie. I must admit that the story was one of the most compelling ever told. However, this movie does not gain my praise merely through its script. The movie was so real. This was acheived by three things: the script, the acting, and the overall setting. The script helped by refusing to allow any of the main characters to appear perfect. Everyone seemed to have a flaw which indeed made them all human and easy to identify with, if only vicariously.
In addition, the cast was completely convincing. First of all, no other could have filled the shoes of Samuel L. Jackson. He was simply perfect as Carl Lee Hailey. The Sutherlands were great as well (both Kiefer and his father Donald). This was my first time to see Matthew McConaughey on the big screen as he played the lead role of Jake Brigance. He did a wonderful job, especially in Jake Brigance's closing arguments. Sandra Bullock was once again extremely charming. I was pleasantly surprised to see her in a movie where she was accompanied by such extremely talented people. Although, on the other hand, I did not enjoy seeing her smoke. Oscar winner Kevin Spacey also performed very well. There were, of course, many others who starred in this movie, and, although I will not list all of their names, I feel that they are the ones who made this movie as great as it is. They are the ones who took me there to Mississippi in the middle of this dramatic story. They are the ones upon whose shoulders the stars were allowed to stand. My hat goes off to those who cast this movie and also to the director, Joel Shumacher.
The atmosphere of the movie was perfectly envisioned by the wonderful actors in the movie as well as the location on which it was filmed. The small town of Canton, Mississippi was perfect. Embarassingly, I do not know quite how to express the aura of this movie in words, but I can tell you this (as I have once before): the movie is so real. Obviously, I loved this movie and plan to see it again very soon as well as get the book.
UPDATE: I have recently read the book which I loved reading. However, it is interesting to note that this movie lives up to the book and even makes some improvements. Although the book contains many more events than appear in the movie, the movie captures the emotions and feel of the story better than the book. There are also a couple of modifications that the script makes that I feel were for the better.
I also saw the movie a second time. It was just as good as the first time if not better. On my second viewing I noticed a wonderful technique used by the makers of this movie that was executed just marvelously. What I am talking about is how as the movie shifts from one scene to the next, the sound switches over first with the picture following it by a few seconds. This gives the movie a wonderful effect and forces the audience to almost beg for the next scene.
Although this movie did not have dazzling special effects, thrilling action sequences, or inspiring music, this movie simply reached out and grabbed my soul. Let me assure you that this movie will touch you in some way. If it doesn't, then I'm afraid your heart is much too callused and you should seek clinical help.
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