Wednesday, November 5, 2003
The typical John Grisham crime thriller has this irritating tendency of assuming that excitement can be spurred by the heated exchange of a lot of legal psycho-babble. As a device for generating thrills, this is as halfhearted an approach as they come. Even the average Joe at a movie theater will tell you that establishing tension depends on more than just characters saying things or making threats; it depends on a combination of elements falling into place, each of them stressing one another in order to generate interest and create buildup without letting ambiguity become implausible blather. With a casual look back at the films utilizing Grisham's novels as source material, one or more of the aforementioned necessities is either misplaced or detached from the setup. In "The Firm," for example, a strong sense of tension is undermined by countless scenes of foolish storytelling, while in "The Client," we get the interesting buildup without the actual final payoff.