Friday, September 7, 2012

Movie Vault Review: A Few Good Men [1992]


Background:
Year Of Release: 1992
Directed By: Rob Reiner
Written By: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Pollak, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, Wolfgang Bodison, James Marshall
Duration: 138 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Two Marines, Lance Cpl. Harold Dawson (played by Wolfgang Bodison) and Pfc. Lowden Downey (played by James Marshall) are accused of the murder of a fellow Marine. Navy Lawyer, Lt. Daniel Kaffee (played by Tom Cruise) is appointed to defend them. Kaffee is assited by Lt. Sam Weinberg (played by Kevin Pollak) and an Internal Affairs officer, Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Gallaway (played by Demi Moore). JoAnne is convinced that Dawson and Downey had acted under a "Code Red" order. This in turn results in their commanding officers, Colonel Nathan Jessup (played by Jack Nicholson) and Lt. Jonathan Kendrick (played by Kiefer Sutherland) brought into the picture. The prosecutor for the case is Kaffee's friend Capt. Jack Ross (played by Kevin Bacon).



Thumbs Up:
+ Some of the best dialogues and verbal sparring in cinematic history
+ Majestic performances from Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise which is backed by solid exploits from the supporting cast: Demi Moore, Kevin Pollak, Kiefer Sutherland, and Kevin Bacon
+ Engaging characters on display
+ Riveting story which brings up some pretty interesting questions for debate
Thumbs Down:
- The musical score could have been better <--- nitpicking at its grandest. I just needed an excuse for this section
The Verdict Is In:
Recently I have been completely obsessed with the legal show on TV, Suits [2011 - ] which has just completed its second season. One of the many aspects from that show that has me hooked is its characters constantly quoting and referencing various movies. One episode had two characters bonding (and feeling attraction) with each other after a few quote exchanges from this very movie that is being reviewed, A Few Good Men.




But that's exactly what this movie's strong point is... it's a quote-lover's heaven. Long before Aaron Sorkin wowed audiences with his verbal prowess in The Social Network [2010] or TV show, The West Wing [1999-2006], he wrote this powerful courtroom drama. To the regular readers here... yes the tiny handful of you, let's face it, this seems like a perfect match. Because, one, movie lovers like us just adore quotes, and two, as bloggers, we have an affinity with words.

The performances are genuinely amazing while the story compelling. It gets better after repeat viewings as we can see exactly how Tom Cruise's character provokes Jack Nicholson to explode. Yes, the Cruiser. No matter what controversy happens in his private life, I still regard him as one of the better actors when on screen. This performance is just one other evidence.

Rob Reiner has directed a lot of movies that I enjoyed like Stand By Me [1986], When Harry Met Sally [1989], Misery [1990] and The Princess Bride [1987]. Heck, I've even adored his recent feature, Flipped [2010]. But assisted immensely by Sorkin's screenplay and strong performance from the cast, A Few Good Men is Reiner's true masterpiece! Now, have I made myself clear? .....Crystal! 
Selected Quote:
Rating:
9 out of 10

10 comments:

  1. Damn right you are. It certainly is Reiner's masterpiece. Jack Nicholson is a beast in it. that 'You can't handle the truth' speech alone is more than enough to prove this point. Great Choice.

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    1. Yup... truly marvellous performance from the master.

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  2. Reading the Thumbs Down section, basically this movie is just near to perfection? ;) I haven't watch this but I heard great reviews about it. Thanks for reminding me about how great this is.

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    1. Well probably not perfection... just nothing to really complain about. But I really do love this film.

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  3. If not for those last 20 minutes, this flick would have just been another well-acted, courtroom drama. But with those last 20 minutes, it's a very memorable, well-acted, courtroom drama that deserves to be discussed and quoted for years on end. Good review Asrap.

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    1. I don't know, I still enjoyed it immensely even before those final minutes. But I guess that's what we call an impactful climax.

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  4. A quick example of how extremely quotable this movie is...

    I'm a teacher in an inner-city charter school in Pennsylvania and a student of mine, born in 1999 no less, quoted the You can't handle the truth bit. I stopped class and said something like you can't quote that movie if you don't know where it's from.

    But, Mr. Brown. It's from A Few Good Men.

    And I thought, whoa, this is heavy.

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    1. Haha... good story! Let's hope the film gets kids to write as good as Sorkin now.

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  5. Man I forgot Rob Reiner directed this. I saw this on the big screen and was impressed by the ensemble cast. Of course Nicholson stole the show but Cruise held his own as well.

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    1. You saw this on the big screen? Lucky you! I think Tom Cruise is under-appreciated as an actor. He actually is very good.

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