When released in 1997, The Gingerbread Man was the only John Grisham movie that did not use one of the popular novelist's bestsellers as its inspiration. Rather, it's based on an original screenplay by Grisham that display... more »s the author's familiar flair for Southern characters and settings within a labyrinthine plot propelled by his trademark narrative twists and turns. Sporting a spot-on Georgian accent, Kenneth Branagh plays a Savannah attorney who comes to the assistance of a troubled woman (Embeth Davidtz) and finds himself enmeshed in a scenario involving the woman's father (Robert Duvall) that grows increasingly complex and dangerous, where nothing, of course, is really as it seems. It's a totally absorbing movie made in the modern film-noir tradition; what's most interesting here (and most underrated by critics at the time) is the combination of Grisham's mainstream mystery and the offbeat style of maverick director Robert Altman. Despite a battle with executives that nearly caused Altman to disown the film, The Gingerbread Man demonstrates the director's skill in bringing a fresh, characteristically offbeat approach to conventional material, especially in the use of a threatening hurricane to hold the plot in a state of dangerous urgency. Unfortunately overlooked during its theatrical release, this intelligent thriller provides a fine double bill with Francis Coppola's film of Grisham's The Rainmaker. --Jeff Shannon« less
Donna G. (OzarkArkie) from COMPTON, AR Reviewed on 4/3/2014...
I like anything "John Grisham" and this is no exception. It has plenty of action to keep you on the edge of your seat! Another great movie!
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Underrated Altman gem!
Cubist | United States | 05/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I can remember seeing this movie in an almost empty theater when it came out. It's a shame because this is really a well-made, intriguing thriller that only Robert Altman could make. Rumour has it, he completely demolished John Grisham's original story and basically did his own thing--which is what Altman is famous for. The results? An unusual mystery that gets under your skin with characters that are flawed and always interesting to watch.Much was made about Kenneth Branagh's Southern accent... or lack thereof. To tell you the truth, it really didn't bother me all that much and I think he pulled it off. He certainly is a flawed character, vain, self-absorbed but through the course of the movie he certainly learns his lesson as his whole world gets tossed upside down.This movie really is about human behaviour as opposed to a concrete A to B to C linear plot. The mystery is really just window dressing to get all of these characters together and see what happens.As always, Altman has assembled a top notch cast with the likes of Daryl Hannah (?!) and Tom Berenger plucked out of obscurity for solid performances. Robert Duvall also turns up as a crazed hobo character. He makes the most of his limited screen time. And of course, good ol' reliable Robert Downey, Jr. turns in another wonderfully eccentric turn as a slightly-sleazy private detective who's buddies with Branagh's character. He steals every scene that he's in.The DVD is quite good. The audio and video is excellent. As another reviewer pointed out, if you have a surround sound set-up it feels like the tropical storm in the movie is all around you. Altman really knows how to build atmosphere and suggest a specific place.This is a really good movie. Very underrated and worth a look."
Branagh in Savannah
Selene | 03/27/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I haven't anything to say on the movie as a whole - it's a grade-B thriller, creaky and contrived - but I wanted to add my 2 cents' worth on the phenomenon of Branagh the impersonator. I live in central east Georgia, and it has been my misfortune to spend quite a lot of time in the company of Savannah lawyers; Kenneth Branagh's character in this movie could have slipped into one of those practices like hair into hair oil. The look, the walk, the gestures, the speech - all of it seemed to me perfect. I am not native to Georgia, it's true, but I've lived here for 6 years, and usually accents bother me. Branagh's art - his ear, his technique - is something special. So, if you're interested in him, or in mimicry in general, you will get something out of this over-all low-grade film."
Quite a film
Fabrisse | Dorchester, MA United States | 06/19/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am not a big fan of either Robert Altman or John Grisham, but I was going out with some friends and this was the only movie in town that none of us had seen. I was riveted. The use of the color red is reminiscent of the great movie "Don't Look Now." Branagh gives a wonderful performance as a great lawyer who was a so-so husband and becomes a good father through the course of the movie. There isn't a pretentious moment in it. As a southerner by birth, I was the only one of my friends to laugh through the party scene at the beginning. It was dead accurate."
skunktrain | So. California, USA | 12/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am inclined to like Robert Altman. I like the way he paces his movies, with dialog overlapping and little quirky comments. I like that. I like the impressive cast that he always gathers. And I liked this film well enough.I thought the storm element in this film was perfectly appropriate. It added a noir touch that I appreciated. The dialog has a sense of humor that was a treat. Cinematography is excellent, and I loved the moody score by Mark Isham. The story is well-paced, and intriquing. I was engrossed until the end.The cast is impressive and everyone does a great job. Branagh does a great Southern accent, and his character was believable as a somewhat cocky lawyer. I especially liked Robert Downey Jr.'s character-he was just right as Branagh's easy-going, flirty bar-hopping associate. Robert Duvall is also wonderful as a creepy old coot who doesn't like to wear shoes. An excellent, well-chosen cast.A well-told mystery film. A solid offering."