Time To Kill, A

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -2

In this adaptation of John Grisham's novel, racial tension is at a fever pitch in Granton, Miss. A 10-year-old African-American girl is kidnapped and raped by two young white men. The girl's father, Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson), fearful that her attackers will be freed, hides in the courthouse and shoots both men dead en route to their arraignment. Struggling lawyer Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey), who suspected Hailey's intentions but didn't stop him, is hired to defend him. Brigance gets energetic assistance from law student Ellen Roark (Sandra Bullock), while his opponent is prosecutor Rufus Buckley (Kevin Spacey). A victim's brother (Kiefer Sutherland) enlists the Ku Klux Klan to intimidate Brigance and stir up racial unrest. A TIME TO KILL is thought-provoking drama, forcing viewers to contemplate the nature of justice and whether it's appropriate to take the law into your own hands. The lead performances are colorful, and the young lawyer provides a compelling character study. Brigance enjoys the spotlight of a newsworthy case, but death threats and conversations with Hailey force him to re-evaluate his motivations.

While rape provides the story's impetus, the incident is only suggested with some rapidly edited viewpoints; details are eventually revealed through dialogue. The murder of the two attackers is fairly graphic, as we see bullets strike them and some bloody aftermath. Later a man is shot by a sniper and there is a glimpse of gushing blood. The KKK demonstrates outside the courthouse, resulting in a violent racial motivated riot. A Klan leader struck by a Molotov cocktail is engulfed in flames and ultimately dies. Black religious leaders attempt to help Hailey, with less-than-honorable intentions. There is romantic tension between Brigance, who is married, and the law student, but he resists the temptation. Bigoted characters use racial slurs several times, and many mild and moderately crude words, several obscenities and two regular profanities are also heard from both heroes and villains. The violent content is occasionally excessive, particularly the shootings and the burning. The intentions of the story could still have been accomplished without these scenes.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Warner Bros., 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

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: Many (19) times - Mild 12, Moderate 7

Obscene Language: Several (10) times - S-word 6, other 4, including obscene gesture

Profanity: Few (3) times - Regular 2 (JC 1, G-D 1), Exclamatory 1

Violence: Many times - Mild, Moderate and Severe (girl raped and abused; two men killed by machine gun fire, men shot with bloody wounds, man and woman assaulted, violent riot, man burned to death, house destroyed by fire, man cut, woman kidnapped and assaulted)

Sex: Implied rape of a young girl

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Drinking, smoking

Other: Racial slurs used 17 times (n-word 16, cracker), hypocritical Ku Klux Klan members call themselves Christians, black preachers shown to have questionable motives

Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

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