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The Client (Snap Case)
The Client
Snap Case
Actors: Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Renfro, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony LaPaglia
Director: Joel Schumacher
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
PG-13     1997     1hr 59min

Settle in. Take a deep breath. Hold tight. The best screen version yet of a novel by John Grisham (The Firm, The Pelican Brief) delivers all-out, moment-by-moment suspense! Headliners Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones joi...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Renfro, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony LaPaglia
Director: Joel Schumacher
Creators: Arnon Milchan, Guy Ferland, Mary McLaglen, Steven Reuther, Akiva Goldsman, John Grisham, Robert Getchell
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 12/17/1997
Original Release Date: 07/20/1994
Theatrical Release Date: 07/20/1994
Release Year: 1997
Run Time: 1hr 59min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 7
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Member Movie Reviews

Chuck B. (ChuckB4Me) from WENTZVILLE, MO
Reviewed on 1/16/2015...
Nice movie because the people don't take the boy seriously at first, and then his lawyer either. The lawyer does a lot of pro bono work just because, and the story progresses well from there.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jennifer D. (jennicat) from ST AUGUSTINE, FL
Reviewed on 3/29/2014...
Loved it. Need to see it again.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Phillip B. (pjbump) from FLORISSANT, MO
Reviewed on 7/25/2011...
Like many (if not all) of the movies based on a John Grisham novel, this one does not follow the letter of the book, but definitely keeps to the spirit of it. I highly recommend both reading the book and watching the movie, as so much can be "said" in a brief scene in a movie.

I'm not a big fan of Brad Renfro (he seems excessively impudent), but Tommy Lee Jones and Susan Sarandon put forth excellent performances.
Peter Q. (Petequig)
Reviewed on 7/25/2011...
An exciting thriller..well casted.

Movie Reviews

Reggie to the Rescue.
Themis-Athena | from somewhere between California and Germany | 06/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"You gotta hand it to John Grisham: Nobody has the various lawyer cliches down pat as well as him - in fact, it almost seems as if he invented or at least, reinvented many of them. As in most of his thrillers, we get a whole handful in "The Client": the slimy mafia lawyer, the power-hungry politician-to-be, the self-aggrandizing ambulance-chaser, the grandfatherly judge and, of course, the motherly family law practitioner who turned to legal practice after overcoming a few troubles of her own. I think that leaves only the greedy corporate attorney, his cousin the corrupt judge and their perpetual antagonists, the starving public interest lawyer and the inquisitive student prodigy unrepresented here; but still, not a bad collection for a single thriller, even by Grisham. (And that doesn't even include the count of dumb and/or malicious cops, slick tabloid journalists and ruthless mobsters running around in this story.) But never mind: "The Client" is one of John Grisham's best-ever novels, and this movie surpasses many another big-screen adaptation of his books by several leagues. For Grisham at the top of his game is also an excellent storyteller, and in the hands of director Joel Schumacher his tale of beleaguered eleven-year-old Mark Sway who gets in trouble by becoming the reluctant last confidant of suicidal defense attorney Jerome "Romey" Clifford comes to life in spot-on and truly gripping fashion.

Although not even a teenager yet, Mark (Brad Renfro) is as tough as they come - a Memphis trailer park kid who gets most of his education on life's really important aspects from TV, has already helped his mom (Mary-Louise Parker) get rid of the wife-beating guy he now calls his "ex-father," and since then has been the man in the house, taking care of his eight-year-old brother Ricky whenever their mother is at work (i.e., most of the time). So Mark doesn't scare easily; and even if he really is afraid, he'd rather drop dead than admit it. But with both the mob *and* the feds on his trail - the former out to kill him before he can share the dirty little secret they suspect Romey has spilled before blowing out his brains, the latter hell-bent on making him share that very secret - even Mark has to face the fact that he is in way over his head ... and yes, he's scared, too; and not just a little. Worse, his brother is out cold, in hospital being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder because watching Romey's suicide was more than his delicate eight-year-old soul could take, and their mother is in hospital with Ricky on the doctor's orders because Ricky might need her when he wakes up. (Consequently she's also out of a job, because her sweat-shop employer doesn't take kindly to this sort of family emergency). Reluctantly, Mark therefore concludes that he needs an attorney. And in short order, he lands on the doorstep of Regina "Reggie" Love (Susan Sarandon), middle-aged but only a few years out of law school, through which she put herself after her husband left her for a younger woman, not without depriving her of their children's custody and branding her an unfit mother. But what starts as a hesitant relationship at best on Mark's side soon turns out his one stroke of luck, because Reggie is probably the only lawyer in town not afraid to take on even powerful U.S. Attorney "Reverend" Roy Foltrigg (Tommy Lee Jones) and the FBI, and ultimately willing to put her own job at risk for her client.

While condensing some of its elements, the movie's screenplay follows Grisham's novel fairly closely, taking part of its dialogue straight from the book. Yet, "The Client" lives not only from John Grisham's gripping story but also - and primarily - from its characters and outstanding cast, including the ever-reliable J.T. Walsh (FBI Agent McThune), William H. Macy (Ricky's doctor), Anthony Edwards (Reggie's assistant Clint), Ossie Davis (Judge Roosevelt) and Walter Olkewicz ("Romey" Clifford). Unquestioningly most memorable, however, is the quintet at the movie's center. Brad Renfro was selected by Schumacher for his first-ever screen appearance as Mark because he had a somewhat similar background as the story's hero and thus, an intuitive understanding that, along with his innate toughness, ultimately proved more convincing than the acting skills of more experienced child actors; and indeed, he so compellingly carries his part that he deservedly garnered a 1995 Young Artists Award. Susan Sarandon earned another Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Reggie, who actually listens to her clients and makes sure even those of their desires that may seem trivial to others are taken care of; such as Dianne Sway's wish for a walk-in closet. (Sarandon's Academy-Award nomination was her fourth after "Atlantic City," "Thelma & Louise" and "Lorenzo's Oil;" but although she had to wait yet another year to finally score an Oscar with "Dead Man Walking," "The Client" at least won her a BAFTA Award). Tommy Lee Jones plays the bible-quoting Foltrigg with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek and thus, although occasionally terrifying, makes him a more complete and almost even likeable character; much more so than he is in Grisham's novel. Mary-Louise Parker's Dianne Sway truly brings to life the young besieged trailer park mom desperately trying to get a grip on her life, and Anthony LaPaglia finally is simultaneously frightening and unintentionally funny as the slick but not overly bright mob killer Barry "The Blade" Muldanno, the source of Clifford's (and consequently everybody else's) problems.

So, watch this for the outstanding performances of the five central characters as well as the fine ensemble cast, for one of John Grisham's most gripping yarns, and for Joel Schumacher's excellent editing and sense of place. This may not be a major milestone in movie history (except regarding Brad Renfro's career of course), but it's without question one of the best thrillers of the past 15 years and easily recommended on that basis alone.

Also recommended:
The Client
The Firm
The Pelican Brief
A Time to Kill
Dead Man Walking
The Fugitive / U.S. Marshals (1998)"
reviewer17 | United States | 02/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A sterling cast headed by Oscar - nominated Susan Sarandon makes this slick thriller the adaptation of a John Grisham bestseller. Mark Sway (Brad Renfro) witnesses the suicide of a Mafia lawyer, who confesses that the mob was behind the murder of a U.S. senator. Mark's brother is traumatized into a coma by the incident; gangster Barry Muldano (Anthony LaPaglia) is soon on Mark's trail, and in desperation, he arrives at the office of recovering alcoholic lawyer Reggie Love (Sarandon). With the mob after them, and a ruthless federal attorney Roy Foltrig (Tommy Lee Jones) trying to force Mark to reveal what he knows, Love battles to guarantee the safety of her client and his family. The relationship between Reggie Love and Mark Sway is the center of the film, adding considerable character development to plot's routine elements. Director Joel Schumacher helmed another Grisham adaptation, A Time To Kill, in 1996."
Excellent Movie From a Terrible Book
Themis-Athena | 03/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The Client" is a movie that profiled the American Justice system drenched with beaurocracy, and the particular story of a young child and his family caught up in it. An 11 year old backwoods punk kid named Mark Sway (Newly introduced Brad Renfro), is a witness to the suicide of a lawyer involved in a high profile Mafia case. Being the only witness, he is now pressured by the US Attorney's office to talk...and by the Mob not to. US Attorney Roy Fortrigg is played flawlessly as always by award winning actor Tommy Lee Jones, who battles Mark's dedicated lawyer (Susan Sarandon) to make the boy tell all and vault himself to Governor of Louisianna. If I was making this movie, I would think that it would fall apart on the child's role...but it didnt. Brad Renfro was as good as they come, playing a stubborn punk kid who refused to be intimidated by Fortrigg, and tried not to let the Mob get to him either. Another stellar performance was played by Kim Coates, one of the big Mob boss's henchmen. After seeing "The Client" I checked out a few other of his roles...needless to say they were mostly the "bad guy" parts. The movie was gripping in every sense with suspense, action and hardball legal dialogue that trully capture the reality of a high-profile criminal justice case. From start to finish I enjoyed the movie very much and cant turn it off to this day if I flip by it on television. I think "The Client" is a great purchase idea...and again I dont recommend the book."