Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook, Terry Kinney
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 154 minutes

By far the best adaptation of a John Grisham bestseller, this smart, fast-paced 1993 film--directed by Sydney Pollack (Out of Africa)--offers up the dilemma of a young lawyer whose life is turned upside down when he takes a job at a Southern law firm owned by the mob. Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise), having just graduated from Harvard Law, is besieged with offers but takes a job, too good to be true, with a small Memphis firm. He and his wife, Abby (Jeanne Tripplehorn), are sucked in by the seemingly close-knit, collegial nature of the firm's partners and the expensive perks that come with the job. His mentor, Avery (Gene Hackman), teaches him the ropes, but Mitch and Abby begin to sense there's something wrong with this idyllic life. When a couple of associates turn up dead, Mitch begins to investigate the history of the firm; and when the FBI asks him to spy on the firm for them, Mitch realizes his life will never be the same and that, if discovered, he, his wife, and his long-lost brother will be in mortal danger. Mitch must use all his talents as a lawyer to outsmart the firm, the FBI, and the mob in order to reclaim control over his life. A very entertaining thriller that engages the audience at a breakneck pace while not taking itself too seriously. It also features some fine writing and strong performances from a large cast of exceptional actors. --Robert Lane

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