Courting Disaster
Runaway Jury
Review by Ross Anthony

The film starts with a disgruntled employee shooting that leaves eleven dead. A few years pass and the wife sues the gun companies. Enter Gene Hackman a jury consultant demanding big bucks from the gun committee to select an "agreeable" dozen. He's hard, in charge, ruthless and has no intention of losing the case -- even if that means resorting to hired thugs.

Seemingly a "courtroom drama" picture, "Runaway Jury," as the name implies, is much more about the jurors, than the lawyer. A wildcard juror in particular stands out, John Cusak, the one Hackman is having a rough time converting.

It's a world of high-tec stalking, intimidation, daring and risk. Certainly "Runaway" is just as much a thriller as it is drama.

Though the editing seems rushed and abrupt at the outset, the pace of the film comfortably quickens to match, engaging the viewer with taut suspense, keen twists and a smart, careful disclosure of the plot.

You'll appreciate being left to figure out the film, without being spoon-fed. The implications do eventually fall towards one direction on the gun issue; still, I think, no matter how you feel about gun control, you'll enjoy the pace, acting, and punch of this film.

Goodness, I do hope they exaggerated the immoral lengths at which legal teams extend themselves.

"When the Bill of Rights was constructed, and its creators talked about people being judged by their peers," Dustin Hoffman says of the film, "they had no clue that today we would have a sophisticated jury consulting apparatus that can program jurors in such a way that the verdict is in before the trial starts."

  • Runaway Jury. Copyright © 2003.
  • Starring John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz, Bruce Davison, Bruce McGill, Jeremy Picen, Nick Searcy.
  • Directed by Gary Fleder.
  • Screenplay by Brian Koppelman & David Levien, and Rick Cleveland, and Matthew Chapman.
  • Based on the Novel by John Grisham.
  • Produced by Arnon Milchan, Gary Fleder, and Christopher Mankiewicz.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

chili4 special olympians
power5 ra hforh radiop

Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:55:51 PDT