Runaway Jury

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Based on John Grishams novel, this suspenseful courtroom drama, set in New Orleans, covers a high-profile civil suit against a gun manufacturer. The plaintiff is the widow of a business executive gunned down in his office. To ensure success, the defendants hire the ruthless Rankin Fitch (Gene Hackman) as a jury consultant. Fitchs sophisticated, clandestine research team supplies defense attorneys with inside information about each prospective juror. And during jury selection, the attorneys are secretly wired instructions from Fitch. One juror, Nicholas Easter (John Cusack), has no history and appears to be nothing more than a lazy smart aleck. But he becomes more of a threat when his partner, Marlee (Rachel Weisz), makes anonymous phone calls to Fitch and the plaintiffs attorney, Wendall Rohr (Dustin Hoffman), offering to swing the verdict to whichever side pays their price. A four-star cast, suspense and humor make Runaway Jury a likely crowd pleaser, especially for adults.

The films controversial theme is gun control, although Grishams novel focused on the tobacco industry. Nicholas and Marlee, passionate for justice, use blackmail and deceit to manipulate the jury. Fitch and his cohorts make a mockery of the jury selection process, implying that the party with the money wins the case. Down-to-earth and honest Rohr plods along on the high road, risking his career to win the jury with the facts. One of the jurors is tricked into a drug overdose and another drinks whiskey from a pint bottle, both of which are used to the defendants advantage. The most disappointing factor is a healthy dose of offensive language that does nothing to advance the plot or explain the characters. The message that a worthy end justifies an immoral means, the mockery of the legal system, and the inclusion of implied sex between an unmarried couple, some violence and the gratuitous bad language prevent Preview from recommending Runaway Jury.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
20th Century Fox

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (8) times mild 4, moderate 4

Obscene Language: Many (9) times F-word 1, S-word 8

Profanity: Few (2) times regular (GD 1, J 1)

Violence: Few times moderate (car bashing, apartment set on fire, fight with kicking)

Sex: Implied once (unmarried couple in bed, obscured and brief)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times (juror drinks whiskey, woman tricked into drug overdose)

Other: Theme that the end (worthy cause) justifies the means (lying, cheating, manipulating jury)

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults and Teenagers

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