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The Firm

Hotshot Harvard Law grad Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise) is wooed by top law firms from all around the country, but when small, Memphis-based Bendini, Lambert & Locke beats all offers by 20%, Mitch and his wife Abby (Jeanne Tripplehorn) soon leave Boston for the south and the sort of country-club affluence that many young lawyers dream about. But all that money has to come from somewhere, and if junior associate Mitch isn't terribly concerned about the dealings of the senior partners, Abby sees plenty of red flags when an associate's wife casually informs her that none of the 41 lawyers in the firm (all men) are single or divorced, and that the firm encourages wives to have children "because it promotes stability." Leave it to the FBI to inform Mitch that something is rotten in the state of Tennessee — namely, that his employers launder mob money. What's more, the Feds want Mitch to gather information for the government so they can build a case, even though at best it would cost him his law license and at worst would get him a bullet in the head and a shallow grave. Based on John Grisham's novel and directed by Sidney Pollack, 1994's The Firm remains the best of the Grisham-books-gone-Hollywood, largely because of the economical plot, Cruise's remarkable screen charisma, and Pollack's smart directorial choices. At two-and-a-half hours, The Firm clocks in a little longer than most thrillers, but Pollack gently winds up the plot in the first hour, as important characters are introduced and plot points are foreshadowed, so that, by the time Mitch makes his move, the suspense and action goes into a wild tailspin with the Feds, the firm, and the mob all on the young attorney's tail. Cruise and Tripplehorn are joined by one of the most superb casts in recent memory, including Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook, Ed Harris, David Strathairn, Holly Hunter, Wilford Brimley, Gary Busey, and Paul Sorvino. Regrettably, even though Pollack is not averse to sitting for DVD commentary tracks (check out Universal's Out of Africa), Paramount didn't get him in the chair for this one, nor did they scrape up any substantial extras. Good anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) from a clean source print, DD 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Surround. Two trailers, keep-case. Worth the purchase price for serious fans.

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