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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Crime > Legal > Drama > Mystery > John Grisham: Courtroom Collection (The Client/The Pelican Brief/A Time To Kill/Runaway Jury/Warner DVD Set)

John Grisham: Courtroom Collection (The Client/The Pelican Brief/A Time To Kill/Runaway Jury/Warner DVD Set)


Picture: B ††††Sound: B†††† Extras: B†††† Film:


The Client B

The Pelican Brief B

A Time to Kill B-

Runaway Jury B



John Grisham has certainly penned some of the more highly regarded thrillers with his best-selling novels over the years, and quite a few have been converted into motion pictures, here we have a Warner box set that assembles four of his Ďcourtroomí stories together.


There is nothing fancy here either, these are just repackaged from the original DVD and placed into a streamline case for this particular box set featuring each film with the same technical specs and extra features that were on the DVD editions.This set will likely appeal at this discounted price for anyone who does not own any of these films already and can get four for a good deal all in one set, chances are if you are a fan of any of these films, youíll probably be a fan of the others as well, or at least tolerate them.


Starting with The Pelican Brief from 1993 the film benefits highly from the direction of Alan J. Pakula and is somewhat of an underrated film, even with Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts taking the leads.The film deals with conspiracy and cover-up at the highest level as a law student must fight to protect the truth, but who can you trust when every level of the law seems compromised?Even after all these years the film stands up pretty well and itís interested how technology has changed since itís initial release with the internet and how communication and data is stored and protected.Despite feeling dated at times, the story hangs on strong.


The same thing can be said for 1994ís The Client, which is perhaps the best story of the four films, but suffers a little bit in its translation to film.Joel Schumacher was even able to get the talents of Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, and Anthony LaPaglia, who do help make the film work, although the most memorable character is played by a young Brad Renfro, who tragically died under circumstances to complex to go into here in early 2008, as he plays Mark Sway.After seeing this film yet again itís even more tragic knowing just how much potential he possessed and itís too bad he was never able to find more roles that worked for him.The film involves a young boy named Mark Sway who ends up getting caught up with a dangerous situation as he witnesses a lawyer who kills himself before revealing the secrets of the mafia to the young boy.This in turn makes him a target and he must find protection, but the mob will go to any length to stop him from making his way to a courtroom.††


Schumacher would try his luck again with 1996ís A Time To Kill, which I was never a big fan of despite the strong performances here by Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Spacey.Here a lawyer and assistant are fighting to save a father on trial for murdering two men who raped his 10-year old daughter, which sparks a revival of the KKK in this heated film that brings out strong elements of racial injustice.


Gary Fleder directs 2003ís Runaway Jury, which pulls together a superb cast featuring Gene Hackman, John Cusack, Dustin Hoffman, and Rachel Weisz as a gun manufacturer is put on trial in this pressure cooker of a film that shows the manipulation that occurs within the courts and the challenge of having a system that selects juries.The verbal warfare in the film is perhaps itís strongest point as Gene Hackman goes off!††


All four films are presented in anamorphic transfers framed at 2.35 X 1 and look decent considering the limitations that DVD offers by default.Colors are well-rendered, but the darker scenes suffer the most and overall resolution is average.Once these films arrive on Blu-ray it will be great to compare as there are certain scenes in particular that suffer with a more washed out or grainy appearance.While the transfers are certainly not poor, they still demonstrate a more lackluster appearance that is typical of some older DVD transfers, especially with a level of softness that never allow the films to shine or look as life-like as they could, but Blu-ray will solve this.


All of the films feature Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks and again show some age and while the audio tracks are acceptable, they do not demonstrate near the fidelity or resolution that these films are capable of having, and again the Blu-ray releases will finally give these films the life they deserve.In the meantime we get them like this.Runaway Jury also contains the directorís commentary; aside from this extra is quite light, but again this is a bundle set that is appealing for its price, not its wealth of extras.



-†† Nate Goss


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