Film Scouts Reviews

"A Time to Kill"

by Benjamin Ibrahim

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John Grisham's favorite dish seems to be racial controversy, this time set Southern-style with all the fixin's. The recipe is soulfully simple: start with some good ol' white bigotry, (beer, trucks, confederate flags, and the rape of a 10 year old black girl). Mix in the subsequent reaction of her father (Samuel Jackson), who publicly guns down the two white rapists. Simmer for a while on the controversial court case, with Hollywood's freshest face (Matthew McConaughey) heroically defending his seemingly doomed black client. Season with a whole mess of press, Ku Klux Klan activity, black demonstration, riots, and the arrival of the National Guard. And garnish with Sandra Bullock, gobs of near-adulterous sexual tension, and an almost pornographic amount of sweat beading on all the actors. It's mmm-mmm good. It doesn't get much better than this.

This film is great in that it's completely cavalier in its over-the-top-ness and brilliant in its exercise of the power to persuade. "A Time To Overkill", I'd call it. But even recognized overkill has its distinct power, and I found myself shamelessly convinced by the film - in tears a number of times. I lost. The movie won. I can call it whatever I want, but the fact is... it made me cry.

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