Directed by Sydney Pollack
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Holly Hunter, Ed Harris, David Strathairn, Tobin Bell
Grade: C –
John Grisham’s “The Client” had a better shot at mainstream success, but was badly acted and directed; “The Firm” just feels like an overcooked attempt to make us care about people we really shouldn’t. Cruise’s discovery of corruption and murder is followed by the implication that his plucky lawyer possesses some sort of elitist brand of ethics – he goes to such lengths to find a legal solution to his problem – which is unjustifiable given the rest of his behaviour (Don’t get me started on his fiscally-dependent relationship with Jeanne Tripplehorn). While I’m reliably informed that Grisham’s novel makes for a bracing read, “The Firm” makes it clear that his specified prose does not lend itself well to broad cinematic appeal. Pollack’s quest to turn the David vs. Goliath-style narrative of this legal drama into the vein of a survivalist thriller further compounds that observation, a distractingly overutilised score one of his failed attempts to inject tension into a strangely anaemic exercise.