Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Time to Kill

A Time to Kill

-1996 film adaptation of John Grisham's 1989 novel of the same name
-Set in Canton, Mississippi, revolves around the rape of a young girl and the arrests of the rapists and their murder by the girl's father, Carl Lee Hailey.
-2 white racists, Billy Ray Cobb(Nicky Katt) and Pete Willard(Doug Hutchison), come across a 10 year old black girl named Tonya Hailey(Rae'Ven Larrymore Kelly) in rural Mississippi. They violently rape and beat Tonya and dump her in a nearby river after a failed attempt to hang her. She survives, and the men are arrested. Tonya's father, Carl Lee Hailey(Samuel L. Jackson) seeks out Jake Brigance(Matthew McConaughey), an easy going, white lawyer. Carl Lee is worried that the men may be acquitted due to the deep seated racism in the Mississippi Delta area. Brigance admits the possibility. Carl Lee acquires an M-16 rifle, goes to the county courthouse and opens fire on both of the rapists, killing them and also unintentionally injuring Deputy Looney(Chris Cooper). Carl Lee is jailed and Brigance agrees to provide council. He intends to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.
-The rape and revenge killing gains national attention, in addition to the Ku Klux Klan in the area. Freddie Lee Cobb(Kiefer Sutherland), the brother of Billy Ray, calls Brigance and his family with death threats and organizes a Klan chapter in the county. The DA, Rufus Buckley(Kevin Spacey), decides to seek the death penalty and Judge Omar Noose(Patrick McGoohan) denies Brigance a change of venue. Brigance seeks help for his defense team from a sleazy divorce lawyer named Harry Rex Vonner(Oliver Platt), who's also his friend, guidance from liberal activist Lucien Willbanks(Donald Sutherland). He is also approached by Ellen Roark(Sandra Bullock), a law student from Massachusetts. He reluctantly accepts her cooperation and the trial begins. The Klan, which has a member inside the sheriff's department, burns a cross on Brigance's front lawn. This incident causes an argument between Brigance and his wife to the point that if Jake did not help Carl, none of this would have happened.
-When Jake finds a bomb near his house, the police evacuate his family and the house explodes, prompting Jake to send his family away to keep them safe. As the trial begins, the KKK march down the streets of Canton, and meet a large group of mostly black protesters at the courthouse. Chaos ensues outside as the police lose control. A black teen kills the KKK Grand Dragon(Kurtwood Smith), with a Molotov Cocktail, burning him to death. Brigance's attraction to Roark grows, and when he goes home, he finds that arsonists have burned his house. The next morning, the National Guard is called to take care of the rioting, Brigance sits on the steps of his house. That's when Harry Rex walks up and tells Jake it's time to quit. Brigance argues that quitting now would mean his sacrifices would be worthless. In a restaurant, the jury is discussing the verdict, with all but 1 leaning toward a guilty verdict, and it looks Carl Lee will be imprisoned
-Freddie Lee Cobb shoots at Brigance as he exits the courthouse, but misses. The bullet hits a national guardsman, paralyzing him. Roark is kidnapped by Klansmen, beaten, tied to a tree in her underclothes and left to die. She is rescued by an informant called "Mickey" because of the Mickey tattoo on his arm. He is an informant, undercover as a Klansman, Tim Nunley(John Diehl). Out of options, Brigance goes to see Carl in his cell and advises him to accept a lesser plea. Carl refuses, telling Brigance that his views on justice are wrong, adding "our kids will never play together".
-The courthouse is packed to see the closing arguments. Brigance tells the jury to close their eyes and listen to a story. He describes, in slow and painful detail, the rape of a 10 year old girl, mirroring the story of Tonya's rape. He then asks the jury "Now imagine she's white". The final burst of images challenges the nature of the trial, raising the real question: within the racist nature of the community, which crime took place? That the actions of Carl Lee Hailey would be seen as justified had he been white? The argument that Brigance makes is that if the jury can be compelled to spare the life of a white man for a vengeful murder, they must do the same for a black man. After time, a black child runs out of the court shouting "He's innocent!" Cheering ensue. The KKK, angry, get riled up again. Sheriff Ozzie Walls(Charles S. Dutton) arrests Freddie Lee, as well his own racist deputy. The movie ends with Brigance and his family coming to Carl Lee Hailey's family picnic and Carl's daughter Tonya playing with Brigance's daughter. Jake says "Just thought the kids could play together".
Sandra Bullock as Ellen Roark, a law student working free for the defense
Samuel L. Jackson as Carl Lee Hailey, defendant
Matthew McConaughey as Jake Brigance, defense attorney for Carl Lee Hailey
Kevin Spacey as Rufus Buckley, prosecuting attorney
Brenda Fricker as Ethel Twitty, secretary to Brigance
Oliver Platt as Harry Rex Vonner, attorney assisting defense
Charles S. Dutton as Ozzie Walls, Canton Sheriff
Ashley Judd as Carla Brigance, Jake's wife
Patrick McGoohan as Judge Omar Noose, presiding judge
Kiefer Sutherland as Freddie Lee Cobb, Bill Ray's racist brother
Donald Sutherland as Lucien Wilbanks, a disbarred lawyer and Jake's mentor
John Diehl as Tim Nunley, a Klansman, later informant (Mickey Mouse)
Doug Hutchison as James Louis "Pete" Willard, a rapist
Nicky Katt as Billy Ray Cobb, a rapist
Chris Cooper as Dwayne Looney, the deputy accidentally shot by Hailey
Anthony Heald as Dr. Wilbert Rodeheaver, state psychiatrist
Rae'Ven Larrymore Kelly as Tonya Hailey, Carl Lee's daughter, rape victim

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