Movies like Legal Action
Harrison Ford, who still carries the cultural baggage of Han Solo and Indiana Jones, is likeable enough to play characters with a touch of defamation. This adaptation of lawyer and novelist Scott Turrow`s 1987 first blockbuster shows Ford with short-cropped hair as a married prosecutor investigating the murder of a colleague with whom he was having an affair. Directed by Alan J. Pakula, who also directed The Pelican Brief, with a precise script co-written by Dog Day Afternoon screenwriter Frank Pierson and shadow-sprinkled images by Godfather cinematographer Gordon Willis, Presumed Innocent is a successful example of impeccable `70s cinematic craftsmanship applied to a `90s studio star vehicle. (John Williams` score is also top-notch.) Less grandiloquent than the last legal thrillers of the decade, the film explores a dark psychological terrain than one might expect, and does not relax. Barry Levinson`s 2010 Kevorkian biopic was a huge hit for HBO at the time and is still seen as a nuanced approach to a social problem that is still being resolved in courts across the country. Pacino, of course, has the title role and steals just about every scene there is to take away, does a deep character job and not the caricature of Pacino he sometimes falls into at the end of his career. The legal scenes are not the most compelling thing in this film, but they nevertheless manage to show how the courts deal with difficult and intimate issues and how the audience played its own part in the courtrooms. When Erin Brockovich came out in 2000, this film had it all: a crucial performance by one of the most magnetic actresses of the time, a dynamite script based on a true story, and a director working at the peak of his powers. Soderbergh can make dry painting entertaining, but with Brockovich, he had real material. For those who need a booster, Erin loses her own assault case, goes to her former lawyer, and finds herself in the middle of a massive class action lawsuit over contaminated water/cancer. His story fills an important element of the American legal system – trust, sometimes misguided, but what the hell a passionate layman can roll up his sleeves and solve a complicated legal case out of pure moxia. (There are still states where laymen can practice law.
God bless them.) Brockovich looks like a watch, if only because many of the people involved were massive, formative stars of a Hollywood era now almost gone. But it resists re-watching, serving as an effective antidote to some of the most buttoned-up legal dramas of the decade. Matthew McConaughey is in the Legal Thrillers Hall of Fame thanks to A Time to Kill, so this 2011 adaptation of Michael Connelly immediately enters the top 10. The Lincoln Lawyer is a stylish neo-noir, an update of the Ross Macdonald crime film, but with a prominent lawyer instead of the private detective. This is accentuated by its supporting actors, which include Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, Bryan Cranston and the only John Leguizamo. Come for the McConaughey, stay for the Leguizamo – just as you learned to study for the bar exam. If you like awkward, convoluted drama with quality actors, and you could, Reasonable Doubt is the movie for you. A young Chicago ADA (Dominic Cooper) is involved in a hit-and-run, rushes away from the crime scene, and ends up chasing the man they picked up for the same crime (Samuel L.
Jackson), who too. A serial killer. Or something like that. Go ahead and try to figure it out. Three women each claim to be the widow of 1950s doo-wop singer Frankie Lymon. Tony Gilroy`s 2007 neo-noir legal thriller tops this list for several reasons, which we`ll list because you`ve gone that far in the article: (1) a dense and wildly ambitious storyline, with a keen eye for individual details and big ideas swarming just below the surface; (2) the cast in which George Clooney, Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson work at the height of their powers; (3) artistic photography, flooded with twilight and aurora tones; (4) acceptance of ambiguity and moral gray areas that Hollywood rarely likes to make with commerce; (4) pure entertainment value; (5) the scene with the horses; (6) the stage with the chopsticks; and (7) that scene in the taxi at the very end. The legal world is also perfectly captured. Michael is a «fixer» at a white shoe company in New York, but he doesn`t have superpowers. It has only a few ties to the NYPD and the DA. The company office, the midnight closing sessions, the preparations for the motel`s dump in the Midwest, even the cars driving the characters — everything is perfect.