DIRECTOR: Sydney Pollack
CINEMATOGRAPHY: John Seale
MUSIC: Dave Grusin
CAST: Tom Cruise (Mitch), Gene Hackman (Avery), Ed Harris (Wayne), Holly Hunter (Tammy), Wilford Brimley, Hal Holbrook, Jeanne Tripplehorn
BASED ON: The best selling book by John Grisham
ONE WORD: The acting. Good script.
The nice thing about turning the famous novels of today into film, is that you can see the story alive. The bad thing, is that audiences will sit there and compare the film to the novel, word per word. The worst part is that it splits the factions in half. There are those aficionados that love film, and then there are those that love the novel. Which is better...excellent advertising for the film, wouldn't you say..???
THE FIRM, with or without a famous bestseller around, is a very good film, with some outstanding performances, from Tom Cruises young lawyer that is on the go, but not quite as innocent as the previous ones, to Gene Hackman, as the ruthless lawyer with a checkered past, to the real gem in the film, Holly Hunter. How a secretary turns out to be a sexy whiz kid, is almost the real story behind this film..... by the time that Holly Hunter's character takes over the screen, who cares about the other two and the outcome of the story.......
A graduate of a well to do school is hired by a prestigious law firm. The reason why this firm is so very prestigious has always been a secret of sorts ( apparently all law firms do not have a clientele to work with, right...???? ), and the firm works its money in circles so it can keep it at home. It swindles when it has to, and also sets up people when it needs to. And over charges the clients as well.
In the process, there is a gung-ho federal agent trying like crazy to bust up ( Ed Harris in a fine role ), the whole operation as a cover-up for the mob in Chicago. The novel, is pretty much a staple that the client/lawyer relationship is a bit on the sacred side, and that under no conditions should this trust be broken. Mitch is being pushed, and he has found a way to bust up the firm, but not bust up the real FIRM. As such, he finds a way to survive the firm's other hired lawyers that were "done away" with in very accidental fashion, in places where the authorities can be easily bought off. In the middle of the story is the scared fiancée, having to play the role of wife, and she barely realizes that she is also a pawn in a much bigger game.
Mitch manages to get lucky and reach the top level before he gets his own head cut off. If he doesn't, he gets his head cut off like anyone else. Even Avery, whose indiscretion for other men's wives is never questioned, until the one time, when it doesn't even really happen, when it becomes his own coup de grace.
Even if you have not read the novel, this film is very good. The story is reasonably clear, and we do not get a wind that things are being watched and studied, for at least half of the film, by which time we are so much in the hero's side that it is hard not to root for him....
With a nice, but at times overly used, soundtrack by jazzman DAVE GRUSIN..... well photographed..... a nice film overall, with excellent performances.
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