The Pelican Brief
Two Supreme Court Justices from opposite sides of the political fence are assassinated on the same night, sending election-year Washington into a paranoid tizzy while the FBI chases few leads in the apparently motiveless crime. But a thousand miles away in Louisiana, eager law student Darby Shaw (Julia Roberts) draws up a plausible scenario for why the killings happened and who did it which she then gives to her law professor (Sam Shepard), who dismissively turns it over to a friend of his in the FBI. The problem is that Shaw's theory the right one, and it implicates the highest levels of power, causing elements of the U.S. Government to target her for assassination as well in an attempt to keep "The Pelican Brief" from ever seeing the light of day. Alone and on the run, Shaw turns to D.C. investigative reporter Gray Grantham (Denzel Washington), placing both of them in the line of fire as they try to uncover corroborating evidence that will keep them alive. Skillfully directed by Alan J. Pakula (All The President's Men, The Parallax View) with a white-knuckle script by John Grisham, The Pelican Brief is one of the better Grisham books to arrive on screen, with both Roberts and Washington as attractive, engaging leads and an enjoyable string of supporting actors, including John Heard, Tony Goldwyn, James Sikking, William Atherton, Robert Culp, Stanley Tucci, Hume Cronyn, and John Lithgow. However, as one of the first discs from Warner way back in '97, the flaws of many earlier DVDs can be seen here, including too much video noise and some shimmer on background details. It's not an unwatchable DVD by any means, and the film itself is a lot of fun, but with some of the better transfers that have arrived on disc since this one, Warner may want to think about eventually releasing a new transfer, perhaps even as a special edition. Very good source print, DD 5.1, trailer gallery, textual supplements. Flipper.