07
Jun
10

The Firm

This is an old movie based on a book by John Grisham involving a young man (Tom Cruise) who is recruited to a Memphis law firm with the lure of fabulous riches. It turns out that firm does work for the mob and is involved in killing off many of its young lawyers.

This movie is just plain great. The opening scenes of Cruise being recruited in Boston are perfect and the shots of Harvard square, the river, and Boston in general are spot on. In fact, when Cruise and wife leave the city I was thinking to myself “yea, get out of Boston, get as far away as you can.”

Anyway, the movie develops itself flawlessly and brings in characters that are never around for just a moment, they all deepen their relationship to the central storyline, including the secretary of Lomax, who I thought was going to have only a tangential role.

As things get started, Cruise is happy-go-lucky, which is nicely represented by his somersaults with the street performer in Memphis. When we next see Cruise on that street, he’s wearing a trenchcoat and a somber visage. He walks right past the boy he had performed with earlier. He’s hardened by the firm and his deep desire to be rich.

Anyway, everyone gets involved and Cruise soon finds himself stuck between the FBI and the enforcers for the firm. What this movie does EXTREMELY well is show how the various factions make subtle and veiled threats to Cruise. The firm’s security head for example tells Cruise about things the FBI might do to blackmail him, but its obvious that he’s really listing options that the firm has to get at him. Also, he picks Cruise up in a black car and drives him out to a remote location and then opens the trunk, as if were going to shoot Cruise and put him in the trunk and then push the car into the water, but instead he pulls out a briefcase. Similarly, some of the banter between Cruise’s wife and the other lawyers is filled with innuendo and double entendre.

Lastly on the praise side, the scene where Cruise gets a call from the FBI saying that the firm knows about him for sure, right as he’s being invited into the main conference room, is really well done.

My one main criticism is that after Cruise is approached by the FBI, he goes and tells all the partners in the firm. WHY? There seems to be no reason. In the meeting with the FBI Cruise is resistant and skeptical, but even if he thought there was nothing going on, there would still be no reason to go to the supposed criminals and tell them what was happening. Especially since up to this point, we have been led to believe that Cruise DOES think something is up.

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