The Firm (1993) / Thriller-Drama

MPAA Rated: R for language and some violence
Running time: 154 min.

Cast: Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Hal Holbrook
Director: Sydney Pollack
Screenplay: David Rabe, Robert Towne, David Rayfiel (based on the novel by John Grisham)
Review published November 20, 1996

An ambitious young lawyer (Cruise, A Few Good Men) joins a close-knit firm of lawyers who offer him more money than he ever imagined and a seemingly idyllic life in the suburbs. Problem is that this firm is more like a cult, and things are going down within the company that are less than legit. Lawyers are dying within the firm, and our young lawyer hero may be next to be "terminated".

Good performances and Pollack's (Tootsie, Three Days of the Condor)effortlessly adept directing lifts this above the usual fare. Based, but not religiously adherent to, John Grisham's novel of the same name, the paranoia and suspense builds as Cruise tries to escape the web he seems entangled firmly in. The film's Oscar-caliber performances are undercut somewhat by standard thriller clichés like a truck full of soft down conveniently being in the street when the hero needs to jump out of a window and the like.

The film is also overlong, 2 1/2 hours is at least a half hour too long to tell this tale, and too many needless characters are introduced that nothing productive is done with. Other than that, it's a quality job by everyone involved, and recommended for thought-provoking and exciting entertainment.

Qwipster's rating:

©2007 Vince Leo