MOVIE REVIEW: “A Few Good Men” stars Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible , Far and Away), Demi Moore (G.I. Jane, Striptease), Kevin Pollack (The Usual Suspects, End of Days), Jack Nicholson (Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Kevin Bacon (Footloose , Mystic River), Kiefer Sutherland (24 [TV series], Mirrors), J.T. Walsh (Sling Blade, Good Morning Vietnam), Wolfgang Bodison (Gridlock, The Appearing), James Marshall (Twin Peaks [TV series], The Shaft), and J.A. Preston (Body Heat, Captain Ron). It is directed by Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally…, Misery) and written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The American President). When two Marines are charged with murdering one of their own, military lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Cruise) is called to defend them. Though the case seems to sway against the Marines favor, Kaffee and his consul begin to suspect something fishy behind it all.
“You can’t handle the truth!” No we couldn’t Mr. Nicholson, no we couldn’t. If there’s one film I’ve been meaning to dive into for its praise in screenwriting, it’s “A Few Good Men.” Aaron Sorkin is a master, having touted around his skills with dialogue through an array of amazing works of television, film, and theatre, from “West Wing” to “Moneyball.” I’ve taken his Masterclass, and though his teaching skills are in need of sharpening, his genius of his craft is remarkable. To him, dialogue is music, and you certainly get that feeling when you watch this 90’s classic, centering around a trio of military attorneys who are tasked with representing two soldiers who have been charged with murdering a fellow cadet. It’s engaging, thought-provoking, and just downright smooth. From it’s performances to its direction, “A Few Good Men” is what you would consider a solid piece of cinema, one to return to for learning the craft of screenwriting as well as just to see an intricate case unfold over the course of two and a half hours. It’s a great film, is what I’m saying, and there’s evidence to prove it. I loved the performances in this feature, as it holds two of my personal favorites: Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson. Unfortunately, Nicholson is only restrained to three scenes for the duration of the film, but when he is on screen his presence is dominant. Everyone does a terrific job in this. Demi Moore shines, Kevin Pollack fits the bill, Kevin Bacon works the room, and Kiefer Sutherland surprises. While some of them aren’t up for Oscar contention, they all entertain, and I was pleased to see them work together in the same movie. Rob Reiner’s direction in this is astounding, with some killer shots that bring several moods, ranging from high tension to subtle bliss. The opening title sequence alone featuring a riflemen march is jaw dropping. The visuals are hypnotic and awesome, and I knew from that moment that as a viewer I was in the right hands. It all presents a feel that makes for a smooth watch, and coupled with the smart dialogue, “A Few Good Men” makes for a fun night. The film’s score is also great, composed by Marc Shaiman. It includes instruments that you’d find in marches and creates a nice dramatic feel that gives the movie umph. Overall, this is a terrific film that builds to a great courtroom drama, which Sorkin loves the most. If you’re into that kind of space, it’s definitely worth a watch. Boiling it down to the spare issues, really all I could find involved the ending. The stakes that come along with this story are pretty high, and the conflict is daunting. We are led to believe that a case like the one Cruise and his associates are assigned to is destined to be a loss. Of course, since they are the heroes of the story, the case needs to turn for their favor, but how they are able to accomplish this can come off Hollywoodish (unrealistic). It’s a scene that involves its iconic line, and while I was glued to the screen during its entirety, I couldn’t help but feel a bit let down when the “way out” these characters found would be impossible to have done in real life. I know, this is a film, but the whole thing is pretty realistic in its execution. Besides their ultimate way to victory, I’d say “A Few Good Men” is a home-run, both for it’s brilliant dialogue and wonderful performances. FINAL SCORE: 94%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: