Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Time To Kill

A Time to Kill is based on John Grisham's novel of the same name. Set in Canton, Mississippi, the film starts with the vicious rape and brutalisation of a young black girl by a couple of drunk white men, followed by the assassination of the arrested rapists by the girl's father, Carl Lee Hailey and the subsequent murder trial of Carl.

It is a gripping film that mixes courtroom and 'real-life' drama in equal measure. There are a number of sub-stories that make the film even more fascinating and watchable. All the cast play their parts convincingly, and anyone with a heart will find themselves with tears in their eyes on a number of occasions.

However (and it is a big however) I found myself agreeing with the conclusion emotionally, but heavily disagreeing with it intellectually. Without wishing to give away too much the film steers far too close to the 'Follow Your Heart' school of morality for my comfort.

I don't think that the producers of the film are unaware of this, and the tension between 'letter-of-the-law' justice and grace are dealt with well. And, more disturbingly, I don't have any easy answers myself.

Oh, one last thing, if (like me) you are squeamish about rape scenes, watch the beginning of the film, but skip to the next scene when you see what's about to happen.

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