Film

The Firm


The Firm (1993)
★★★ / ★★★★

Based on a John Grisham novel, “The Firm” is about a Harvard Law School graduate named Mitch McDeere (played by Tom Cruise) who receives an offer from Bendini, Lambert & Locke with an offer that surpasses other firms’ with benefits that no man in his right mind would refuse. McDeere’s wife (Jeanne Tripplehorn), coming from a rich family, tells her husband that it’s too good to be true but McDeere ignores his wife’s concern, only to find out later on that the firm he works for are tied to organized crime like the Mob. I’m at the borderline whether or not to recommend this film because even though it managed to entertain me more than half of the time, I didn’t find any reason for it to be two hours and thirty minutes long. Though its story is shrewd, it’s not efficient in its way of telling the story. It purposely piles a stack of one complex idea after another to the point where I found myself giving up trying to find out how one thing relates to another and just observe how it would all play out. It’s a shame because this movie had powerful performances, not just from Cruise, but also from Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Hal Holbrook and Holly Hunter. Also, I don’t know if it’s just me but I thought there were some unintentionally funny scenes during the last thirty minutes of the picture. Even though what’s being presented on screen is serious, the soundtrack suggests otherwise which was aided by Cruise’ tendency to overact. Maybe Sydney Pollack, the director, wanted to achieve something different but that lack of agreement between images and tone took me out of the experience. I feel like if it had been darker and edgier, I would enjoyed “The Firm” a lot more instead of just giving it a slight recommendation. I was very interested in the story and the way McDeere untangles himself from the trickiest situations but the execution could’ve been stronger.

2 replies »

  1. While this is probably one of the best Grisham adaptations (‘The Client’ actually is one of the very few other decent ones I can think of), I basically agree on all its weaknesses. It is much, much too long, and the intricacies of the plot are so many that I eventually lost interest in the movie as a matter of storytelling. You are also right about Cruise overacting, but when I think back to it, that was how we expected him to be, back before the couch-hopping Scientology madness.

  2. Hahaha. Yep, it’s definitely hard to forget that Scientology stuff he tried to pull (or is still pulling secretly in his basement?). Still, I try very, very hard to separate his personal life and roles in films. It was nice seeing him in “The Firm” because he was young and wanted to prove himself. That he did and became one of the biggest movie stars. Hopefully, he makes a comeback.

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