Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
A taut legal thriller
on July 9, 2004
Joseph Finder's bestselling novel comes to life in this well-made, though somewhat predictable, thriller as a savvy and love-struck lawyer is pitted against the military and its covert actions. Ashley Judd plays Claire Kubik, a lawyer on the way to a partnership until her husband is arrested for a military crime he swears he didn't commit. To defend him, Claire must navigate military law and threats, getting in deeper and more dangerously with every half-truth she uncovers.
The plot has fewer holes than most thrillers, although most viewers will see the "twist" a mile away. And that a law firm would jettison one of its promising stars because her husband was arrested is preposterous. Wouldn't they help in the defense? Still, given the holes in most thrillers these days, these lapses are minor. The acting is solid, with Judd creating a gutsy, smart woman who is capable of both unfaltering love and fury. Morgan Freeman does a fine job with his thin material as a once-alcoholic lawyer who is "a thorn in the military's side." James Caveziel, as Claire's husband, is less complex; his pleading got on my nerves by the end. Supporting roles by Amanda Peet (Claire's floozy sister) and Adam Smith (a young military lawyer) are adequate, though not highly memorable.
The strength of this film is in the pacing and the seamless way in which it unfolds. The issues it raises about the United States's involvement in El Salvador provide an interesting, though not fully developed, frame. Highly enjoyable, though not perfect, this film is a good way to spend two hours with a bowl of popcorn at hand.