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"RUNAWAY JURY"
(2003) (John Cusack, Gene Hackman) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Extreme Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Moderate Minor Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Mild Moderate Heavy Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A juror and his accomplice try to coerce lawyers on both sides of a high profile civil case into paying them in exchange for swaying the jury their way.
PLOT:
Rankin Fitch (GENE HACKMAN) is a highly successful and pricey jury consultant whose firm investigates potential jurors to such a fine degree that they can pretty much help their clients choose a jury that will vote their way. He's recently been hired by Garland Jankle (STANLEY ANDERSON), the CEO of Vicksburg Firearms, a gun manufacturer and plaintiff in a high profile civil court case brought on by the widow of a man gunned down by one their products.

Employing a large team of high tech workers and investigators, including Doyle (NICK SEARCY), Fitch is working closely with the lead counsel for the defense, Durwood Cable (BRUCE DAVISON), in picking out jurors likely to be friendly to their argument.

On the other side of the case is the decidedly low-tech Wendall Rohr (DUSTIN HOFFMAN), a New Orleans attorney. Against his better judgment, he's hired his own jury consultant, Lawrence Green (JEREMY PIVEN), but relies on his knowledge of the law and gut instincts more than any outside help.

Among the jurors selected is Nick Easter (JOHN CUSACK), who's reluctant to serve; ex-drill sergeant Frank Herrera (CLIFF CURTIS); Herman Grimes (GERRY BAMMAN), who's blind; secret drinker Stella Hullic (NORA DUNN) and others. Ruled over by Judge Harkin (BRUCE McGILL), they prepare to hear the case. Just as it begins, however, both sides receive an anonymous note indicating that the jury is for sale.

While Rohr blows it off as a ploy by the defense, Fitch takes it seriously and begins to investigate where it's from. He eventually discovers that one of the jurors is in cahoots with the letter writer, Marlee (RACHEL WEISZ), who informs both sides that they can purchase a jury decision for the right price. With millions of dollars at stake, the outside forces try to manipulate the legal teams, all while Fitch tries to crack down on the outsiders.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast or movie adaptations of John Grisham novels, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For violence, language and thematic elements.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JOHN CUSACK plays a juror who's initially reluctant to be on the case, but then becomes more involved than anyone could have imagined, but all for a reason to him that's more important than money.
  • GENE HACKMAN plays the intense and quick to anger jury consultant who's agreed to go to whatever means to make sure that his client gets a non-guilty verdict in the high profile trial. He uses some profanity.
  • DUSTIN HOFFMAN plays the more laidback and low-tech attorney who's honest and believes in the system. He briefly uses some profanity.
  • RACHEL WEISZ plays an outsider who tries to extort both legal teams into paying for a guaranteed verdict.
  • BRUCE DAVISON plays the lead counsel of the defense who's really in Fitch's non-prominent shadow.
  • BRUCE McGILL plays the somewhat unorthodox judge presiding over the case.
  • JEREMY PIVEN plays a northern jury consultant who wants to help Rohr since he's against guns.
  • NICK SEARCY plays Fitch's right-hand man who digs deeper into the jurors' pasts.
  • STANLEY ANDERSON plays the brash CEO of the firearms company who isn't happy when things get out of control and threaten to derail his previous purchase of a verdict.
  • CLIFF CURTIS plays an ex-drill sergeant who wants to control the jury from the get-go and doesn't like Nick's interference. He briefly uses strong profanity.
  • GERRY BAMMAN plays the blind man chosen to be the jury foreman.
  • NORA DUNN plays one of the jurors who's a secret drinker and probable alcoholic.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a quick look at the content found in this dramatic thriller that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are present. Some brief, sexually related dialogue occurs, while a couple kisses on a bed the woman starts to disrobe, but the scene ends there (with implied sex).

    Violence consists of a scene featuring off-screen murders, while some fighting and attempted harm occur in others. Some of those scenes may be disturbing or suspenseful to some viewers. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while thematic issues include a suicide attempt, talk of an abortion, apparent alcoholism, being HIV positive, jury tampering and gun issues.

    Various characters drink or smoke, a drug reference is made and some tense family material (family members reacting to past murders) is present. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those sensitive to motion-induced sickness, some early scenes in the film are rather jumpy.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Miscellaneous people have beer in a bar.
  • When asked about someone trying to rob a store inside a mall, Nick says that such a person would have to be on crack to try that.
  • Stella secretly pours whiskey from a bottle into a cup while in the jury room.
  • Jurors have wine and drinks with lunch at a restaurant.
  • Nick fakes having a hangover so that Stella (who he knows has some booze) will pour him some. He then purposefully drops the bottle under the table to draw attention to it and them.
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks.
  • Nick has a beer with other jurors who drink beer or other drinks. One of them has many drinks and is later found on a restroom floor (but we see that she tried to overdose with pills).
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks in a restaurant.
  • Frank has a beer.
  • Fitch has a shot of liquor.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • After a potential juror is let go, he spreads (fake or real) blood on his shirt, causes an uproar and is tackled and then dragged away by security.
  • We see a little vomit on a woman's mouth after she's passed out.
  • A person is stabbed in the leg with something (with some bloody results).
  • Marlee has some bruises and a bandage on her face after an attack.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • When trying to pick out potential jurors, Fitch says to pick an overweight woman because he thinks that fat people are tight-fisted and unsympathetic.
  • Depending on one's view of guns and gun control, statements and arguments from both sides of the issue might not sit well with various viewers.
  • Nick tries various things to get out of jury duty.
  • For those sensitive to such matters, a comment is made about a juror having had an abortion a few years ago (there's an additional mention of that later in the film).
  • Fitch says that he hates Baptists as much as he hates Democrats.
  • Jankle and his firm hire Fitch to make sure that they buy a not-guilty verdict, and Fitch goes to various illegal and underhanded means to make sure that happens.
  • Marlee and a juror conspire to extort the prosecution and/or defense for millions in exchange for the verdict they want.
  • A juror won't put out his cigarette in the jury room after asked to do so by others.
  • Doyle breaks into Nick's place looking for clues about his intentions.
  • Fitch has his people put the squeeze on jurors on the case (to try to persuade them to vote their way).
  • Frank makes a disparaging, non-explicit sexual remark about Nick and "big girls" (meaning an overweight juror).
  • Frank has a chip on his shoulder about being a victim himself (of society and the system) and thus has no pity for the victim or his widow.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be disturbing or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • We hear sounds of many gunshots in an office complex. A man and his assistant then hide in his office as more shots ring out (and some property damage from them occurs). The man then peeks out after the sounds of shooting stops, but is shot and killed (we only hear the shot and see the flash, but later hear that he was killed). There's later talk that the gunman turned his gun on himself, but we don't see any such footage. We also later hear that 11 people were murdered and 5 wounded during that shooting.
  • Doyle breaks into Nick's place looking for clues about his intentions. Nick returns home and Doyle hits him with something and then knocks him aside before fleeing. A foot chase then ensues (with Doyle knocking people aside while running), with Doyle ending up hiding in a car. Nick then shows up and bashes the car's windshield and windows, prompting Doyle to start the car, ram it into a parked car and nearly smash into Nick (who jumps out of the way to avoid being crushed) before speeding off.
  • Marlee is surprised to find one of Fitch's henchmen in her place. She then secretly puts a beer bottle in her coat pocket that she then uses to hit the guy several times. He then chases her, grabs her by the hair, bashes her into a wall and throws her to the floor. She then kicks him in the leg, they struggle, he starts to choke her and she presses her fingers into his eyes. He then throws her back through a display in her place, knocking her unconscious. He then approaches her with a knife, but she stabs him in the leg with something (with some bloody results) and then kicks him in the face.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Gun/Knife: Used to threaten or kill others (the murders occur off-screen). See "Violence" for details.
  • We briefly see some footage showing a first-person shooter videogame (no violence, just the shooting).
  • A juror says that gun control is just like birth control in that it doesn't work.
  • We see Jankle out skeet shooting.
  • We see a weapon and an ad for one as part of the evidence in the case.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck the law," "This is horsesh*t," "I don't give a sh*t," "That is bullsh*t," "Crapping out," "Poor bastard," "You don't know what the hell you're talking about," "Whack job," "Punk," "Bastards," "You bet your ass they do," "Make damn sure you don't underestimate me," "Where the hell are you?" and "Big ass."
  • A juror has a nose ring in her nostril.
  • A juror has many drinks and is later found on a restroom floor (but we see that she tried to overdose with pills).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song has the lyric, "Never meant a damn to me."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 11 "s" words, 10 hells, 5 damns, 4 asses, 4 S.O.B.s, 1 crap, 2 uses of "Jesus" and 1 use each of "G-damn," "God" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Nick's friend jokes that Nick could say he had a sex change operation as a way of getting out of jury duty.
  • A juror says that gun control is just like birth control in that it doesn't work.
  • Nick and Marlee do some passionate kissing on her bed. She removes her shirt (we partially see her in her bra) and more kissing occurs, but the scene ends there (with implied sex).
  • Marlee shows a little cleavage.
  • Frank makes a disparaging, non-explicit sexual remark about Nick and "big girls" (meaning an overweight juror).
  • SMOKING
  • Doyle, another henchman and a juror each smoke once, while some miscellaneous characters also smoke (including cigars).
  • Nick tells an older man he should give up smoking and the man replies, "What for?"
  • A juror won't put out his cigarette in the jury room after asked to do so by others.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see the murder victim's widow in various scenes.
  • A mother talks about losing her daughter in a school shooting in the past (and we hear flashback sounds of the shooting, but don't see anything) and another woman was the victim's sister.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The comment that trials are too important to be left up to juries.
  • Nick tries various things to get out of jury duty.
  • For those sensitive to such matters, a comment is made about a juror having had an abortion a few years ago (there's an additional mention of that later in the film).
  • A juror says that gun control is just like birth control in that it doesn't work.
  • The blind (and comments on such a person serving on a jury).
  • If firearms manufacturers should be liable for murders committed with their products.
  • A man is noted as being HIV positive.
  • Attempted suicide (via an overdose).
  • VIOLENCE
  • We hear sounds of many gunshots in an office complex. A man and his assistant then hide in his office as more shots ring out (and some property damage from them occurs). The man then peeks out after the sounds of shooting stops, but is shot and killed (we only hear the shot and see the flash, but later hear that he was killed). There's later talk that the gunman turned his gun on himself, but we don't see any such footage. We also later hear that 11 people were murdered and 5 wounded during that shooting.
  • After a potential juror is let go, he spreads (fake or real) blood on his shirt, causes an uproar and is tackled and then dragged away by security.
  • Doyle breaks into Nick's place looking for clues about his intentions. Nick returns home and Doyle hits him with something and then knocks him aside before fleeing. A foot chase then ensues (with Doyle knocking people aside while running), with Doyle ending up hiding in a car. Nick then shows up and bashes the car's windshield and windows, prompting Doyle to start the car, ram it into a parked car and nearly smash into Nick (who jumps out of the way to avoid being crushed) before speeding off.
  • Fitch throws a phone in anger, breaking it.
  • One of Fitch's henchman ransacks Nick's place with Doyle, including bashing in the walls and tearing up the flooring. He then sets the place on fire.
  • Fitch kicks a trashcan in anger.
  • Fitch grabs Marlee's arm in a threatening fashion as she tries to walk away from him.
  • Rohr grabs Marlee by the coat as she tries to leave.
  • Marlee is surprised to find one of Fitch's henchmen in her place. She then secretly puts a beer bottle in her coat pocket that she then uses to hit the guy several times. He then chases her, grabs her by the hair, bashes her into a wall and throws her to the floor. She then kicks him in the leg, they struggle, he starts to choke her and she presses her fingers into his eyes. He then throws her back through a display in her place, knocking her unconscious. He then approaches her with a knife, but she stabs him in the leg with something (with some bloody results) and then kicks him in the face.
  • Fitch bashes a phone in anger.



  • Reviewed October 10, 2003 / Posted October 17, 2003

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