"Runaway Jury"

(Twentieth Century Fox. MPAA rated PG-13 for violence, language and thematic elements.)

A stockbroker, (Dylan McDermott), and ten of his co-workers are gunned down at their firm by a failed day trader.  Dustin Hoffman is the prosecuting attorney who sets out to win a huge settlement from the seedy gun manufacturer on behalf of the widow and young child of the broker.  Gene Hackman is the smarmy jury consultant for the gun manufacturer who is to "guarantee" a verdict in its favor.  Enter pesky juror #9, Nick Easter (John Cusack) who, at 34, works for an electronics store and, for all appearances, is an underachiever who wants desperately to get out of his duties as a juror. Easter, along with a feisty accomplice (Rachel Weisz) soon reveals himself to be much more. - It seems the case could go either way, dependent upon his actions.

 

Until the end of the second act, it is unclear how many "bad" guys there actually are in the film.  Depending upon one's degree of patience (or whether one has read the John Grisham book by the same name) this is either good or bad.  For this reviewer, it was pretty good.  Hackman and Hoffman both chew up the scenery with powerful performances while Cusack, one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood, gives his usual effective, understated performance and Rachel Weisz does well with arguably, the strongest role in the film.

 

"Runaway Jury" is an absorbing movie with one of the best ensemble casts of the year. .

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