A Time to Kill
When a young black girl in Mississippi is attacked, raped, and left for dead by two white hooligans, her father, Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson), fears that they will not be brought to justice in court and kills both of them. Jailed and facing the gas chamber, Hailey hires inexperienced attorney Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) to defend him at trial, but with skilled District Attorney Rufus Buckley (Kevin Spacey) heading up the prosecution, Hailey's odds don't look good. Based on the novel by John Grisham, and directed by Joel Schumacher (who previously directed the adaptation of Grisham's The Client), A Time To Kill plays like a page-turning legal thriller, with effective performances from Jackson, McConaughey, Spacey, and Sandra Bullock as an idealistic law student who volunteers to do research for Hailey's case. Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman does an excellent job of balancing the storm surrounding Hailey's trial as the Klan and the NAACP pursue their own agendas with the personal, non-political story of a black father and the white legal team he has entrusted with his life. Also starring Oliver Platt, Charles Dutton, Brenda Fricker, Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland, Patrick McGoohan, and Ashley Judd. Good transfer, DD 5.1, trailer, textual supplements.