Dir: Rob Reiner, 1992
It’s rare these days, to find a solid courtroom drama that can grip and enthrall a viewer. But A Few Good Men does just that.
Arriving at a time when films about trials and lawyers were still common, Rob Reiner’s adaptation of Aaron Sorkin’s script from his play of the same name, is a standout film that overshadows other films with that theme.
Two US marines, are placed on trial for the murder of a fellow member. Cocky lawyer, Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is assigned to defend the pair, assisted by Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore) and his friend, Captain Jack Ross (Kevin Pollack).
The trio believe the murder was carried out under an order of “code red”, by Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson). An unauthorised and illegal punishment doled out by the victims fellow marines, “code red” is dismissed by the powers that be and deny that it is ever employed.
There are some damn fine courtroom films out there; Inherit The Wind, Judgment At Nuremberg, The Accused, Suspect, Primal Fear and then this. Reiner hits the nail on the head in entertainment and thrills, gripping us with the investigation and the twists and turns of the case.
Cruise is his usual cocky self, turning the audience off him. Arrogant and smarmy, Cruise as the inexperienced lawyer, plays the role rather well.
Moore is unconvincing as a commanding officer and is stilted in her delivery of the lines. Never a good actress, Moore zombie-walks her way through the film failing to portray any kind of emotion.
Despite only having a screen time of, roughly, twenty minutes, Nicholson is the real star. Out-acting and outshining the whole cast, dominating the film. Domineering the actors, Nicholson is amazing. Chomping on a cigar and his infamous devil eyes drawing you in, the veteran actor doesn’t even have to try with his character. Everything the One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest star appears in, always seems so natural.
The versatile actor is responsible for many legendary catchphrases of film and A Few Good Men is one of the most famous. His delivery of “you can’t handle the truth!” has been repeated and spoofed endlessly, entering the social consciousness that is still parodied to this day.
A wonderful and thoroughly enjoyable movie that is deserving of its high acclaim and is sure to provide you with a great night’s entertainment.