A Time to Kill | Chicago Reader

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To enjoy this mediocre John Grisham drama (1996), you'll have to accept a cartoonish version of the deep south taken intact from Hurry Sundown and Mississippi Burning and believe passionately rather than reluctantly in justifiable homicide. Samuel L. Jackson plays a Mississippi factory worker who kills the racist rednecks who drunkenly rape and maul his little girl, and young lawyer-hunk Matthew McConaughey, sweating like Michael Caine in Hurry Sundown, is eager to prove how right he is. Sandra Bullock is a liberal law student along for the ride, Kevin Spacey is the mean prosecutor, and Donald Sutherland plays the Arthur O'Connell part from Anatomy of a Murder—which you should see, or see again, instead of this silly overblown movie. Joel Schumacher directed a script by Akiva Goldsman; with Brenda Fricker, Oliver Platt, Charles S. Dutton, Ashley Judd, Patrick McGoohan, and an uncredited, as well as wasted, M. Emmet Walsh. R, 149 min.

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