A Time To Kill
Director: Joel Schumacher
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock, Kevin Spacey, Ashley Judd
Released: July 24, 1996
Between watching this movie and reading The Help (can't wait for that movie!), I'm kinda glad I'm not a Mississippi native because that state isn't getting a very good rap in those two mediums. I haven't read the John Grisham novel this film is based on, but now I want to. The film is very intense and I can only imagine the novel is the same, if not more.
After Carl Lee's (Jackson) ten-year-old daughter is raped, beaten, and left to die by two rednecks, he takes matters in his own hands and charges at them with a rifle when they are being brought to the courthouse for their trial and kills both of them because he knows it's most likely they will be locked away for only ten years, then will be free again. A young lawyer named Jake (McConaughey) takes his case with the help of a law student from Boston (Bullock) while Kevin Spacey plays the prosecution attorney.
In a role more Ace Merrill than Jack Bauer, Keifer Sutherland plays the brother of one of the racists Carl Lee murders. He vows revenge and with the help of the other white supremacists in the small Mississippi town where they live, he brings back the KKK and sends a message to Jake to stop representing Carl Lee by placing burning crosses in his yard or beating up his secretary's husband. Jake refuses to quit and sends his wife (a blonde Ashley Judd) and daughter away which is a good thing he does because his house is burned down. The Klan captures Bullock and does some nasty stuff to her, but Jake still refuses to leave the case.
I was a little put off when Jake was giving his closing argument to the (all white) jury and after he had explained the horrible things that had happened to Carl Lee's young daughter, he ended it with saying, "Imagine if that had been a white girl." Spoiler Warning ahead!!!!! The jury voted not guilty for Carl Lee and I hope they still would have had the same verdict even if Jake hadn't said that.
I don't blame him for killing those two sick bastards, but he probably should have at least been charged with using a loaded weapon in a public place. He's lucky he didn't kill any innocent bystanders! (Though he did shoot the leg of a cop played by Chris Cooper who becomes paralyzed as a result).
I'm off to the library to check out the novel!