The Client | Chicago Reader

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Another adaptation of a John Grisham best-seller (after The Firm and The Pelican Brief), this one involving an 11-year-old boy who unwittingly learns from a Mafia lawyer the whereabouts of a missing U.S. senator's body just before the lawyer shoots himself, which sends both the crime syndicate and the federal government after the boy. Figuring in are the boy's younger brother (who's traumatized by the suicide), their single mother (Mary-Louise Parker), a lawyer (Susan Sarandon) who seeks to protect the boy, and a federal prosecutor (Tommy Lee Jones, of course). Joel Schumacher directed from a script by Akiva Goldsman and Robert Getchell. This isn't much of a thriller—the villains are all straight from central casting, and most of the suspense sequences aren't very suspenseful—but a certain amount of goodwill is stirred up by the gradual bonding between the working-class boy and the lawyer, despite some directorial overemphasis; Sarandon is good as always, though an underscripted Jones just walks through his part. With Anthony LaPaglia, Anthony Edwards, Ossie Davis, and Brad Renfro.

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