A Time to Kill

D: Joel Schumacher
Warner Bros./Monarchy/Regency (Arnon Milchan, Michael Nathanson, Hunt Lowry & John Grisham)
US 1996
149 mins


W: Akiva Goldsman [based on the novel by John Grisham]
DP: Peter Menzies, Jr.
Ed: William Steinkamp
Mus: Elliot Goldenthal
PD: Larry Fulton

Matthew McConaughey (Jake Brigance), Sandra Bullock (Ellen Roark), Samuel L. Jackson (Carl Lee Hailey), Kevin Spacey (Rufus Buckley), Oliver Platt (Harry Vonner), Charles S. Dutton (Ozzie Walls), Brenda Fricker (Ethel Twitty), Kiefer Sutherland (Freddie Lee Cobb)

Amongst the better adaptations of John Grisham's courtroom drama novels, set in a small Mississippi town where a young lawyer defends a black man who murdered the two Ku Klux Klan members who raped his young daughter.
This old fashioned style melodrama could be dubbed the To Kill A Mockinbird of the 1990's, but the truth is that it isn't quite as good as Harper Lee's classic novel. At nearly two-and-a-half hours long, there's many strands of story which could have been left on the cutting room floor for reasons of pacing. The ensemble cast all give their best, with Samuel L. Jackson the standout performer.
It's a narrative which would make a fantastic stage play, but as a movie, it could have done with a little tweaking to make it a classic. I'd certainly recommend it to those who enjoyed To Kill A Mockingbird.

A Time to Kill
A Time to Kill