The legal system – “the scales of justice”….they have been shown non-stop on TV recently, and I just finished jury duty as well, and it made me think about legal thrillers…
I found myself on a jury at the LA Criminal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles – and even though I was asked over and over why I didn’t try to get out of it – I actually found jury duty fascinating – and I’m glad I did it.
No, Glenn Close wasn’t my lawyer, but I was Jury Foreperson on a trial involving attempted murder – and I will tell you now –
I DON’T KNOW HOW TWELVE PEOPLE CAN AGREE ON ANYTHING!
I truly appreciate what Prosecutors must face every time they go to trial and present evidence – it’s seemingly impossible to get a dozen people to agree on anything! In my trial, I had four people who felt the defendant was guilty – and four who felt he was innocent.
CUE THE HUNG JURY!
After a full day of deliberation, I had taken six different votes, and it was clear that those eight jurors were NEVER going to change their minds – no matter what was discussed. The last four were willing to discuss the facts and evidence further, but for those who had made up their minds, THEY WERE MADE UP. We ultimately returned as a hung jury and the case was declared a mistrial.
I know that certain high profile court cases have polarized people, and it will be interesting to see what these cases do to cause us to look at the system and why it doesn’t work better…
But Enough Reality!
With the legal system very much top of mind, it’s time to look at two great movies that tackle the legal system – and the role of lawyers in it – through the eyes of two very popular Attorneys!
“You’re nobody ’till somebody shoots you.”
The Lincoln Lawyer
Matthew McConaughey gets behind the wheel and takes the law out onto the street in this tight, action-packed legal thriller.
Matthew McConaughey is joined by Ryan Phillipe, Marisa Tomei and William H. Macy – check out the trailer:
Check out the trailer:
McConaughey is a defense lawyer who works out of his Lincoln. When a wealthy Realtor is accused of raping a prostitute, “The Lincoln Lawyer” is asked to defend him. The Realtor is played by Ryan Phillippe…
“You’re nobody ’till somebody shoots you.”
As with all good legal thrillers, the plot of “The Lincoln Lawyer” takes many twists and turns, including a few that take place in the “Lincoln” of the movie’s title…it’s a great hook for the film: a car that functions as McConaughey’s portable, traveling office…
William H. Macy co-stars as one of the private detectives McConaughey uses to dig up dirt…as always, he brings consummate acting ability to the role – and check out the hair!
A Classic Legal Thriller!
While this film didn’t receive a lot of attention when it was released in theaters, it actually did well at the box office. It’s a tight, effective legal thriller, and Matthew McConaughey shows off more of the cool confidence in this film that he has shown in such recent roles as “Magic Mike” and “Killer Joe”…
There is plenty of action in “The Lincoln Lawyer” as well…in fact, there are a number of good legal thrillers…the list includes such serious films as:
“The Verdict” – with Paul Newman giving perhaps his greatest movie performance ever…directed by Sidney Lumet, who also directed “Network” and “Dog Day Afternoon”!
Or you can try a “pulpier” take on the law with”The Rainmaker” with Matt Damon – a fun legal thriller as well…which leads to what is, in my opinion, the “Citizen Kane” of action lawyer movies…
“You want to know something funny? You actually made me think about the law. I managed to go through three years of law school without doing that.”
Yes, “The Firm” is a great legal thriller! It’s one of the most purely entertaining movies about the law – and the dangers of choosing the wrong law “firm” to work for – that’s ever been made – and it has a great cast including Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman and Holly Hunter – here is the trailer for “The Firm”:
Tom Cruise plays law school graduate Mitch McDeere – a young man with a promising future in Law. He is approached by ‘The Firm’ and made an offer he doesn’t refuse. Seduced by the money and gifts showered on him, he is totally oblivious to the more sinister side of his company. One of the partners, played by Gene Hackman, takes the young lawyer under his wing…
As more strange things begin happening at “The Firm”, the young lawyer has to come up with his own “exit strategy” from the firm…
Mitch McDeere: Are you saying my life is in danger?
Denton Voyles: I am saying that your life as you know it is over.
Holly Hunter’s Oscar-Nominated Scene-Stealing!
Oscar-winning actress Holly Hunter shows up in a small role – but steals the movie as the fast-talking secretary who works with Mitch to execute his plan…look at this short snippet of dialogue when she meets Mitch’s brother – and has an update:
Tammy: Mitch sent me to tell you the plan’s been changed.
Ray McDeere: I didn’t know there was a plan.
Tammy: Well, that’s good, because it’s been changed.
Great “Firm” Facts!
Holly Hunter’ was oscar-nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role here – but she is only on screen for a total of 5 minutes, 59 seconds in the entire movie; it’s one of shortest performances ever nominated for an Oscar! She is in 20 scenes, for an average of 18 seconds per scene!
Holly Hunter proves that it doesn’t take much to make an impact! And she is just one of the many pleasure of this great movie! I need to watch “The Firm” again soon!