A Few good -- actors in a pretty good court drama
The M.O.W. - wrote on 08/01/08
Two United States Marines (Wolfgang Bodison and James Marshall) are arrested on numerous charges, including the murder of a fellow soldier who wanted to be transfered in exchange of information of an incident at their base at Guatanimo Bay, Cuba. "Lt. Daniel Alistair Kaffee" (Tom Cruise), a lawyer who always plea-bargined his way to a win without entering a courtroom, is assigned to defend them.
"Lt. Kaffe's" first problem is to handle "Lt. Cmdr. JoAnne 'Jo' Galloway" (Demi Moore), who wants to be on the case so bad she gets the permission of "Pvt. Downey's" "Aunt Ginny" (Maud Winchester) to take over his part of his case. "Lt. Kaffe" declares himself lead council, with "Lt. Cmdr. Galloway" and "Lt. Sam Weinberg" (Kevin Pollak) as co-assistant council. His second, to keep his clients out of military prison on the grounds that they were under orders to haze "Pt. First Class William T. 'Willie' Santiago" (Michael DeLorenzo).
Jack Nicholson, who steals the courtroom scenes near the end of the movie, plays the accused superior commander. It is obvious to "Kaffe" that he is hiding more than he's telling, and he slowly learns that is exactly what "Col. Jessep" (Nicholson) is doing.
In this movie, all the crime scene clues which proves the defendants innocence are presented to the audience and are revealed through the eyes of "Kaffe" when he discovers them himself later on. You will raise an eyebrow when you realize that you saw a clue that might just help the defense's case.
The story drags a bit until the case goes to court. It then gets interesting as it is revealed that the defense has case is actually stronger than it appears to be earlier on. The performances of the main characters also become much stronger in court.
Prior to the scenes in the courtroom, the performances aren't extremely good, but are still quite strong. This is most evident with Cruise, Moore and Nicholson. Other performances are equally as strong, but they are weakened by lack of character development and amount of screen time.
None of the scenes really stand out in this movie, except for the famous in court confrontation between "Keefe" and "Jessup." However, that scene stands out only due to the performances of the principle actors and nothing else. The wardrobe, especially the military clothing, looks quite convincing as well.
"A Few Good Men" is carried by the performances of the cast and a pretty good screenplay written by Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the play the movie is based on. In my opinion, this film could be a good rental.