57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2003
I first saw this film not knowing who Grisham was, having never read any of his novels or seen any of their adaptations. I wasn't expecting much and I got far more than I could have ever hoped for. From the very first scenes, the film hits you between the eyes with shocking scenes that are horrifying yet at the same time emotional. It tackles a number of sensitive issues at the same time - racism, rape, murder, vigilatism, sexual equality to name a few - something which few films do and even fewer manage to do successfully. The cast are excellent, the characters believable and well portrayed and the storyline, although extreme, is convincing and could well be a true story. Although the outcome is slightly predictable, it is still a fascinating and gripping story that will suck you in, churn you up and spit you out again and will stay with you for a long time to come.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This film had all the hallmarks for success, John Grisham, the writer of the book, that this film stems from is indeed a lawyer. He was born in the neighbouring Arkansas and went to Mississippi University. With that pedigree and this this all-star cast it was never going to fail. This is the classical `Deep South' story though it is post Jim Crow era.
One of the great `black' injustices of our time was carried out in Mississippi - the death of 14 year old Emmett Till, by two `whites' who were acquitted , though clearly guilty.
Here Matthew Mc Courtney (Jake Brigance) takes on the role of an Atticus Finch of 'To Kill a Mockingbird.'
He's young, has principles and just like Atticus the world is against him for standing up for what he believes is right, even if legally and locally, he's on very shakey ground?
He's clearly made of stern stuff. He's broke, his family and friends are intimidated, his house is burnt down , they even try to assassinate him, but possibly his greatest virtue is that he refuses through all of this to have an affair with his new assistant Ellen Roark ( Sandra Bullock). I'll tell you what, his wife's got a good un there for sure!
Samuel L Jackson is excellent as Carl Lee and it's his savvy that Jake latches onto to fight the good fight. Keven Spacey's role is perfect for him as the overly confident and totally smug Rufus Buckley. Bullock fits in perfectly and a word also for Patrick McGoohan (Omar Noose) who was just outstanding as the nasty, racist judge who gave the young Jake absolutely no encouragement at all.
If you like films about the `Deep South' then this has to be on your watch list.
I'm giving this 5 stars, as even though I found it a bit flowery in places, it does have everything that a top film should have and holds your attention all the way over the full two and a half hours. I have the Bluray version which is just wonderful as adds greatly to the overall pleasure of this top film.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2003
This is an excellent film and proved so by managing to keep 30 14-15 year olds quiet for the entire film - and that's some achievement! We all agreed that the film was excellent, showing exactly what was/is wrong with the world.
Fantastic acting all the way through, particularly the scenes in court and the last part in court is perhaps one of my favourite parts.
36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2001
This film has everything you could hope for from a film that is based on the writer, John Grisham. As usual, Grisham has written a book which is very easily transferred from page to film.
The acting in A time to Kill is consistently good with a lot of big names in the cast list. The most notable of performances is that of Samuel L. Jackson who skill as an actor has proved unquestionnable.
This being a law film does not mean that the film is cheifly concerned with legalities. It is a film charged with raw emotion and sorrow. However this film has very moving and uplifting sequences of which to boast.
This film makes compelling viewing and causes the viewer to question their own racial prejudices and feel ashamed of what was allowed to occur until really quite recently.
The competent direction of Joel Schumacher keeps this intellectually stimulating story appealing to the eye.
Well worth watching, I urge you to do so.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2010
This film boasts a top notch cast of actors, class director and a very good story - John Grisham at his best. Of all the reviews here only a couple relate specifically to the blu-ray version and even these reviewers don't, in my view, give sufficient credence to the HD copy. I thought that it was simply an amazing transfer. In fact both sound and video are truly excellent making an already enjoyable film into a real treat. Definitely worth the upgrade for those people who want to see the film as it was intended to be seen.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
MISSISSIPPI, RACE, KKK, TRIAL, RAPE, MURDER...did I miss anything? Two rednecks rape and beat the 10 year old daughter of Samuel L. Jackson, who fears they might get off. In open and broad daylight Jackson guns down the rapists. He is on trial for murder. Matthew McConaughey plays a sympathetic attorney who leads a rag-tag group (including Bullock and Donald Sutherland) to defend Jackson against the prosecuting attorney, Kevin Spacey (with a southern accent) who wants to make a name for himself in his bid for governor. The NAACP attempts to take over the case while an overly represented KKK terrorizes the town. Criticism: The temporary insanity plea is clearly a plea for jury nullification, although the movie never uses that phrase. The town appeared split on the case over racial lines with seemingly no middle ground.
The acting was good and the movie generated emotion. Kiefer Sutherland plays a "bad guy." What flashes through the movie is the genius of of the killer (Samuel L.Jackson) on his ability to manipulate the attorney and others in order to achieve his goal. He is clearly a calculating individual.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2007
This film was shown on TV last night and I have seen a few times, but every time I see it again, I always get a different feeling. Such a powerful film that touches you every time you see it. I am buying this film on DVD so that I can watch over and over again the court room session at the end, the way John Grisham summarises a lot of issues in Matthew McConaughey's summation, the last line he says in his summation just hits you differently...amazing - watch it and see.
This film is just excellent, it's not one of those films that makes you hate people but makes you hate the crimes that people do and how they affect others to a point were they snap, but like everyone else who has wrote a review, it raises an important question, can murder be excused, not justified but excused? Great peformances all the way through, Samuel L. Jackson, its wonder why he never got an award (OSCAR, GOLDEN GLOBE) for this film, if he ever deserved one, it was for this performance.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2007
This movie based on the book with the same title, is about a trial about a man who shot some people because his daughter was raped, and the KKK is coming in, as the trial goes on. This is a very powerful drama, and a decent cast as well, Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock, Donald Sutherland, Kevin Spacey, Kiefer Sutherland, Matthew McConaughey, and Ashley Judd. Very great and dramatic acting, directed by Joel Schumacher, the man who brought Falling Down,Batman & Robin,Batman Forever,Phone Booth,The Lost Boys St. Elmo's Fire and many others. The scenes at trial were very realistic and convincing and the beginning of the film was perhaps the most disturbing in this movie, and the scene with the KKK coming in was also disturbing. A must see for those who have read the book, I believe they have captured the feel of it very accurately. Watch it.
on 19 March 2014
From the very emotional, brutal first scene in this movie, you are left with a sense of misplaced justice. key subject themes are racial bigotry, inequality faced by black communities in the Deep South from their white neighbours. Your senses are laid bare in every gut-wrenching scene in the first half of this movie.
The ensemble cast featuring future Oscar winners McConaughey, Bullock, Spacey are mesmeric and the chemistry between the leading cast members is electric, but the supporting cast featuring Samuel L Jackson, Oliver Platt, Ashley Judd, and Donald and Kiefer Sutherland are excellent too making this film unmissable viewing and a riveting watch. The action is superbly paced by director Joel Schumacher, surely his best work ever.
I found this film to be utterly believable, uncontrived, with a big heart that tackles very sensitive subject matter delicately, analytically and leaves you asking serious moral questions long after you have watched it.
On my first viewing I cannot recommend the film highly enough and no doubt will watch it many times in the future as it should be rated one of the greatest films of all time. I love John Grisham as a legal thriller writer and most film adaptations of his source matter are first rate; full of suspense, action, and drama so if you love his books you MUST watch this movie.
on 17 April 2011
"A time to Kill" is one level higher than most of many other movies. The question here is: "if the negro-father was right to kill the two young rapist", is complicated. If this had been a Charles Bronson/Death Wish-movie there would have been no problem in it (laughing).
But this movie develops into a spidernet, which affects: "the Ku Klux Klan, S. Bullock, the defenders wife, the Sheriff, the Judge, etc." in a interesting way).
I think Sandra Bullock role represents a minor part. But the defense lawyer is playing "one hell of a role", especially in the ending. Which I think could have given him an Oscar. I wonder why "A time to Kill" was not nominated in any categories 1996, with respect to an academy award. - Forget all about Blu-ray, because one is caught by the plot. It's also works in your brain, and not only in your cinema-eyes.
I don't know if the trial was correct (the viewer would probably be at the side of the negro). But this is not only a movie, but much more than that. It symbolices the rising human respect. I would almost say, love and undertanding between all peple on earth - in the end. Where the raped black daughter plays with the defencee lawyers white daughter. It's 5 stars, because this movie contains so many fine details, which is easy to follow already the first time you watch it.