The Partner (1997) by John Grisham

Categories: 1997, Books, and Fiction.

I only know Grisham from the old days when his novels were constantly turned into “event movies” (or the closest thing we had to those back in the ’90s). I watched many of them, though not every one, and, at least as a teenager, thoroughly enjoyed a couple of them, particularly A Time to Kill and The Pelican Brief. Light spoilers ahead. You have been warned. Maybe films make Grisham’s novels come alive better or maybe my tastes have changed (they absoltely have) or maybe this is just lesser Grisham, but this is pretty blah. Grisham’s prose is admirably economical Read More

Arbitrage (2012, Nicholas Jarecki)

Categories: 2014 and Movies.

This is a biting attack on the power of Wall St. (and the corruption of money) disguised as a legal thriller. It’s full of excellent performances and it is structured in such a way that we are mostly never beaten over the head with the obvious critique. (I.e. at no point is there any speechifying, beyond a few lines from Roth, but since Roth’s character is also corrupt…) I have but one nit picky issue with this otherwise excellent movie. What jurisdiction does Tim Roth’s character work for exactly? Honestly, a little more knowledge of the bureaucratic wrangle that is Read More

Im Labyrinth des Schweigens (2014, Giulio Ricciarelli)

Categories: 2014 and Movies.

This is a movie that starts off feeling like a conventional legal thriller – almost like a Grisham adaptation – only its a docudrama based on the first German investigation into the crimes at Auschwitz. The film gets stronger as it goes along, though it does resort to typical legal thriller cliches in ways that grate on you. And the score doesn’t help. Fortunately it features universally strong performances and it ends on a strong note. And obviously the story itself is compelling. But there are way too many legal thriller conventions for me to really like this a lot. Read More