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Being a fan of gene hackman for many years, my family and I saw this movie when it first came out several years ago. I always kept track of when I could buy it, and now that we have it, wonderful and suspenseful movie! If you like trial movies, this is a keeper!
There are really two kinds of lawyer films out there; the kind that is about the trial and the kind that is about the lawyers; this film is about the lawyers and the family drama of a father and daughter pitted against each other in a class action lawsuit. The film is well constructed and acted, though there is the occasional corny dialoge in the father-daughter scenes that could have been written much stronger.
The father (played by Gene Hackman) is a crusading support-the-little-guy type, but he is not without his warts and particularly not without the consequences of his giant ego. Hackman is perfect in this role and gives his character the depth it deserves. Mary Elizabeth Masterantonio plays the daughter and is really the center of the film since it is her evolution more than Hackman's that drives the plot. She more than holds her own against a much more experienced actor and gives the film credibility.
There are a few witty remarks in the film but I can't say that the dialogue crackles; since this is not an action film, the dialogue is how the film moves along, so that's a shame. But the plot is enthralling and takes a few unexpected twists at the end; combined with the solid cast (this was shot so long ago that Fred Dalton Thompson was not yet a senator and Lawrence Fishbourne is listed as Larry) it makes the film engaging and certainly worth the low price of this DVD.
The DVD itself is disappointing and carries no special features to speak of (trailers for this film and other movies DO NOT count as special features, at least in my opinion). The only reason to get the DVD versus the tape is that it's easier to find and will hold up better over time.
The bottom line is that this is a solid, well acted film whose David versus Goliath, Inc theme rings even more true in the post-Enron universe than it did when the film first came out.
Who doesn't like Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio? And though I don't find Gene Hackman likeable, he occasionally turns in a decent performance when not requiring heart, as in "Enemy Of the State." But though she's radiant and he delivers one moment of vulnerability, this otherwise stereotyping and negative flick in dated attire has no value to me since I already knew "Power corrupts" I don't need to painfully watch it.