The exceptionally fine cast--Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, J T Walsh, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Edwards, William H. Macy, Anthony LaPaglia, Ossie Davis and Brad Renfro--goes a long way toward making The Client
one of the more solidly enjoyable screen adaptations of a John Grisham southern gothic legal thriller. Teen-hearthrob Renfro is a natural, playing a kid whose life is in jeopardy after he witnesses the death of a Mob lawyer. Susan Sarandon is the attorney who decides to look after the boy; nobody can match her when it comes to playing strong and protective maternal figures (Thelma and Louise
, Lorenzo's Oil
, Dead Man Walking
). Sarandon won her fourth Oscar nomination as best actress for this role, before finally winning the following year for Dead Man Walking
. Author Grisham was so impressed with former window dresser/fashion designer/screenwriter-turned-director Joel Schumacher's work on this movie that he later asked him to direct A Time to Kill
. --Jim Emerson
Third adaptation of lawyer-turned-novelist John Grisham's books. When young Mark and his brother sneak off to the woods for a smoke, they stumble upon a fat mob lawyer about to commit suicide, who tells Mark where a dead body is hidden. When his brother falls into a coma, Mark is questioned by a hard-boiled FBI Attorney (Tommy Lee Jones), with only his lawyer (Susan Sarandon) battling for her young client's safety from the mob's hitmen.