Justice | Chicago Reader

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Fed up with a legal system that railroads minorities into prison terms, a principled criminal attorney (Roger Guenveur Smith) opens a law firm that refuses to plea-bargain; as a result, judges are forced to try or dismiss every case on its merits, and the system begins to collapse under the caseload. John Shulman and Jeanne-Marie Almonor, who wrote, produced, and directed this independent feature, are both civil rights attorneys, and their understanding of the criminal courts compensates for their occasionally clumsy writing. Early on the movie recalls Charles Burnett's The Glass Shield in its portrayal of African-Americans torn between their race and their commitment to the justice system. Unfortunately, like most first-time screenwriters, Shulman and Almonor get lost in the third act, abandoning serious inquiry for an increasingly far-fetched update of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. 104 min.

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