Runaway Jury

I find it hard to understand how a film with so much going for it turned out so average. The cast is extraordinary: Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, John Cusack, Rachel Weisz. And as expected, they all turn in strong performances. The production values are high, the lighting is gorgeous, and the direction is particularly smooth. But for a story that is kicked off with a brutal gun crime, and which revolves around the emotive issue of responsibility for gun-related deaths, it comes across as remarkably heartless. For all its cynicism regarding the firearms manufacturers and the process of law, it fails to make any kind of point about this cynicism.

In fact, the film is all about the plot as distinct from the story: how cleverly the pawns in the game can be manipulated, and how the players strike and dodge and thwart each other at every turn. Every character and every scene is set up as part of this elaborate dance to keep the viewer on their toes. There is anger, but no tension; astonishment, but no surprise; tears, but no pain. It lacks honesty and real emotion.