POWER CAN BE MURDER TO RESIST.
Brilliant Harvard law student Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise) is recruited by a Memphis firm that is very generous to him and his wife (Jeanne Tripplehorn)… but they have much to hide. The first adaptation of a John Grisham novel had perfect roles for two major stars; Cruise and Gene Hackman are very good as the young attorney and the seasoned mentor who’s learned to live with his choices many years ago. Sydney Pollack takes his time not just building tension as we learn more about the law firm, but also turning some of the characters into more than just stereotypes. Long but engrossing, with Dave Grusin’s piano score a novel accompaniment.
1993-U.S. 154 min. Color. Produced by John Davis, Sydney Pollack, Scott Rudin. Directed by Sydney Pollack. Screenplay: Robert Towne, David Rabe, David Rayfiel. Novel: John Grisham. Music: Dave Grusin. Cast: Tom Cruise (Mitch McDeere), Gene Hackman (Avery Tolar), Jeanne Tripplehorn (Abby McDeere), Holly Hunter, Ed Harris, Hal Holbrook… David Strathairn, Gary Busey. Cameo: Paul Sorvino.
Trivia: Charlie Sheen, Jason Patric and Robin Wright were allegedly considered for lead roles. Followed by a TV series, The Firm (2012).
Last word: “I thought ‘The Firm’ as it was written by John Grisham was a very successful and exciting reading experience, but was always very concerned that it wouldn’t work as a viewing experience because the same standards don’t apply when you stand something up on its feet and see it as a reality rather than seeing it in your head when you read it. There were certain logic problems that I couldn’t talk myself out of when I stood it up on its feet. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t just leave the firm and go away if these were such bad guys. So I knew we needed to plug that up for the film. Number two, I felt that there was no sense of a love story in the book at all…and I wanted to make the wife a more active participant in the film.” (Pollack, The Hollywood Interview)