05 June 2020 851 Views

Looking back at A Time to Kill

by James Murphy

It’s a Difficult Time to Talk about Anything. But Movies always inspire. Always!

1996. A TIME TO KILL. 

I recommend you see this movie. Yes, it treads the same ground as To Kill a Mockingbird. Yes, it’s very much a company piece: Joel Schumacher’s usual team deployed at his peak, post Batman Forever /The Client, star powered, in house Warners /Grisham era. That said..

  • It is a thriller: scary, tense, jump in your seat stuff in places.
  • There is a sense of community to it: such a beautiful, promising, inspirational final image.
  • Brutality is there; Racism is there; primal, visceral, vengeance. Yet it still functions as a legal / procedural adventure.
  • It’s the movie that spotted Matthew McConaughey as a leading man star, for a role then sought by many more established names.
  • Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd are adorable here!

 

    • There are complex social and racial politics at work; never over-simplified. Yet the ultimate objectivity of an adversarial and forensic legal system is what shines, for all.
    • Klan are there as the baddies. Kiefer Sutherland on top form. His Dad, Donald, also cameos.
    • One of Patrick McGoohan’s second wind pieces: hilarious as a Judge! Warm support from Brenda FrickerOliver Platt, splendid, too!
  • Economic realities, such as needing to pay bills are ‘there’ and yet wrapped in mesmeric acting studies; notably from Samuel L Jackson.

Recommended. Immediately. We cannot shun or shy away from the painful realities facing us. But we must never forget that it is possible to use Cinema as both retreat and inspirational rallying call. An art form that transcends all boundaries and divisions. That’s what makes its protection so important, alongside Theatre (as Sam Mendes points out today in an FT article).

God Bless. One and all. Have a lovely weekend x

 



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