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A Time to Kill (1996)

A Time to Kill (1996)




Sandra Bullock

Samuel L. Jackson

Matthew McConaughey


Directed by Joel Schumacher


A Time to Kill reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird except that movie is a lot tamer and has less violence. A Time to Kill puts you on the side of the murderer (Carl played by Samuel L. Jackson) asking yourself if you were him would you do the same?

The movie boasts of very convincing performances from the lead casts Matthew McConaughey (as Jake), Sandra Bullock (Ellen) and Jackson. Here is a film crafted well enough to absorb you and take you captive for the long ride. The power in the movie is how much you spend your time at the edge of your sit as you watch, although not fast-paced the movie is intriguing. The lawyers in the movie were always on their toes as they try to win the case and also survive to see it through. Their lives were always in danger which reminds me of another film, In The Heat of the Night (1967), starring Sidney Poitier. While trying to solve his case all through the film his life was always in danger.

This John Grisham adaptation of his 1989 book of the same name is to me one of the best adaptations of his. The movie starts with a bunch of white young men going about a black neighborhood causing trouble. They were drinking heavily and just being a nuisance that you know there were going to do something they will later regret, what they did is worse than you can imagine.

On their way to where ever, they see a 10-year-old walking home and they abduct her. They raped her, beat her and tried to kill her. She survived, but this was Mississippi in the 80s so the men felt they had the right to do what they want to black people. In fact, racism was predominant during that period. Carl gets home to be told what has happened, it was his daughter these men had done this horrible thing to. He goes to see Jake a lawyer who helped his brother out a while back, he wanted to know the chances that the men who did this to his daughter (who were now arrested) would get off with a slap on the wrist. Jake tells him the chances are high. Carl then takes the matter into his own hands and does something just as atrocious as the men, (well I did not see it that way his actions were less in comparison to what these men did) but it depends on who you ask.

Carl’s action now has him locked up and facing life or the death penalty. He gets Jake to be his lawyer and they begin the case to get him out. Things were not going to be easy for Jake because the racist KKK got involved and even though he is white his life and the life of his family became a constant target.

Jake was lucky to survive some of the attacks even his family. But his colleagues were not that lucky.

The movie is all about how Jake with his own struggles has to be able to juggle that, attend to his friends/colleagues and save Carl’s life.

The movie was a commercial success and deserves to be seen more than once.


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