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Runaway Jury

July 11, 2013

Runaway Jury (2003)
Director: Gary Fleder
Actors: John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman

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Synopsis: A landmark legal case is taking place in New Orleans. A bereaved widow is suing the gun company that manufactured the weapon which was sold to the slayer of her husband. ‘Nick Easter’ (John Cusack) gets elected on to the jury, and Rankin Fitch (Gene Hackman) – master jury fixer – tries to find a way of securing the verdict for the gun company….

Review: This is a definitive dash of Hollywood hokum – a lurid, far-fetched thriller, set among that crucible of Americanism (the courtroom), and featuring the usual conglomeration of chases, fights, explosions, people talking very loudly and dramatically, and all undercut by a serious dose of sentimentality. And yet – if you’re willing to leave your brain at home, it’s enjoyable enough.

Seeing an American movie tackling the country’s love affair with guns, no matter how superficially and one-sidedly, is always welcome, and the film is exceedingly well acted by its stellar cast. There’s a wealth of classy support players propping up all the little corners of the story (Bill Nunn, Jennifer Beals, Jeremy Piven, Cliff Curtis, Luis Guzman and Celia Weston to name a few), but the sage lead performances of Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman are what really ground the story – especially in a brilliant firebrand confrontation they share in a gentleman’s restroom at the height of the legal case. (July 2013)

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