Compiled by: Jack Foley
IT boasts a cast to die for (almost as good as the ensemble assembled
for Mystic River) and takes a John Grisham page-turner as its
source, so it is pleasing to be able to report that The Runaway
Jury - starring John Cusack, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman and
Rachel Weisz - looks to have lived up to the potential shown in
Leading the wave of positive reviews from the States is the Hollywood
Reporter, which observed that the screenplay is credited
to four writers, normally a signal of a misshapen mess, but what
emerges here is taut storytelling where character leads to action
and action leads back to character.
While CNN described it as the best big-screen adaptation
of a John Grisham novel since The Firm.
The Los Angeles Times hailed it for being a smooth,
comfortable ride all the way, with Hackman and Hoffman, of course,
the ultimate in fine engineering, while Filmcritic.com
wrote that Gary Fleder has definitely proven that he has
a knack for helming taut, tightly wound thrillers, and Runaway
Jury is his best work to date - one of the years best films.
He paints a colorful array of fascinating characters against a
canvas of explosively.
The New York Times, meanwhile, felt that John Cusack
gives one of his wiliest performances in some time, and
Newsday felt that it provides just enough nutritional
content and exudes enough of a homecoming familiarity to make
the indulgence seem worth the empty calories.
Not everyone was as gushing, however, and there were some reservations
expressed, as well as some negative comments.
Entertainment Weekly, for example, wrote that although
the twists are pulpy and the legal foundations feel wildly porous,
Fleder, a practiced hand at TV-cop stuff and movie thrills, makes
the film a faster, more agile bundle of entertainment than the
And the Philadelphia Inquirer observed that while
I enjoyed Runaway Jury while watching it, its themes and performances
didn't stay with me.
More scathing, however, were One Guys Opinion, which
wrote that if an expert presentation is enough for you to
forgive the utter absurdity of the melodramatic plot, assume your
seat in the courtroom; otherwise, take the usual evasive action
to avoid jury duty; and USA Today, which opined that
watching a movie this impersonal play out for 127 minutes
is like being sequestered in a dingy motel without a six-pack.
But the Hollywood Report Card, meanwhile, felt that it
delivered taut suspense, keen twists and a smart, careful
disclosure of the plot.
And the final word goes to the Chicago Tribune, which
concluded that Fleder and his able cast deliver a brisk,
entertaining story that, despite straining credulity at times,
earns a positive verdict.