A Time To Kill

"OK"

A Time To Kill Review


Remember the hoopla over the novel A Time To Kill? It was celebrated author John Grisham's second book -- actually his first book -- the book he published after The Firm became a hit. The book that no one wanted before he was famous. The book, apparently, that, if it hadn't had his name on it, would never have been published.

Now it's the fourth Grisham movie to be made, continuing in grand fashion that franchise of increasingly average film versions of his increasingly average writing.

In fact, A Time To Kill is the most average of all of these films, and it hinges on two vital elements: if you take a book written by John Grisham and throw in Sandra Bullock in a see-thru tank top, you've got yourself a hit! And the producers are probably right.

The story is so simple it barely merits retelling here: A young girl is raped. Her father, Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson), faster than you can yell "Oswald!", murders the two rednecks responsible. Young upstart lawyer Jake Brigance (Matthew Mcconaughey, playing the most-pumped-up lawyer of all time) defends him, with a little pro bono help (if you catch my drift) from Ellen Roark (the tank-topped Bullock). Bad guy Rufus Buckley (Kevin Spacey) prosecutes. And good ol' boy Judge Noose (get it?) (Patrick McGoohan) presides.

Never has a 145-minute film been less thrilling and more predictable. From a continuity standpoint, it makes absolute perfect sense why each scene follows another. From an audience standpoint, this is terribly boring. Sure, A Time To Kill has some frightening imagery (particularly of the KKK uprising) and some great speeches (Brigance's closing argument brings everyone on the screen to tears, and probably some of the audience, too), but you can't overcome a limp plot with that stuff.

I suppose that's where Bullock's clothing comes in. And another thing -- why is everyone so sweaty in every scene? I know this is the deep South, but they do have air-conditioning in Mississippi, don't they? And why doesn't Brigance ever light his cigar? Little questions... but annoying ones.

Who knows the answers? Who cares? Fine performances all around, typical Joel Schumacher direction, and a nice analysis of Southern race relations make for a movie that is simply indescribable as anything other than...

Average.

Like I was saying...



A Time To Kill

Facts and Figures

Run time: 149 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 24th July 1996

Box Office Worldwide: $152.3M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: Warner Home Video

Production compaines: Regency Enterprises, Warner Bros. Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 34 Rotten: 17

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jake Tyler Brigance, as Ellen Roark, Samuel L. Jackson as Carl Lee Hailey, as D.A. Rufus Buckley, as Harry Rex Vonner, Charles S. Dutton as Sheriff Ozzie Walls, as Ethel Twitty, as Lucien Wilbanks, as Freddie Lee Cobb, as Judge Omar Noose, as Carla Brigance, Rae'Ven Larrymore Kelly as Tonya Hailey, Tonea Stewart as Gwen Hailey, as Tim Nunley, as Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney, as Billy Ray Cobb, as James Louis 'Pete' Willard, as Stump Sisson, Tim Parati as Winston, as Cora Mae Cobb, as Dr. Wilbert Rodeheaver, as Dr. Willard Tyrell 'W.T.' Bass (the Defense Psychologist)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.