Another unjustly neglected picture-
Hugo 77 | TX United States | 07/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"--And not because of the script or the premise, which are frankly shlock: the mob gets to one key juror by threatening her son, and she manages to convince the rest of the jurors to let the bad ole mob boss walk, against their better judgement. In real life of course, the bad guys would've hedged their bets by threatening the families of most or all of the jurors, but then we wouldn't have our feisty protagonist who has to safeguard her son AND set things straight, and of course, no movie either.
Nevertheless, IN SPITE of the ridiculousness of the premise and the somewhat dated dialogue the script inflicts on some of the actors*, Joanne Whalley and William Hurt make this film worth watching. Whalley has to create a woman who initially strikes us as meek and unpreposessing, who somehow finds the resources within to first stir the jury to let the mob boss walk, then protect her son from the gangsters-- a tall order. Whalley does have what it takes to do this, the self-assurance to draw the viewer in, with a quiet and understated performance that makes this transition believable. Likewise, William Hurt is convincing as a weak, flawed man who wants to do right, playing both sides and knowing he'll get burned in the end. Whalley and Hurt are quite a contrast from Armand Assante, so good as a gangster in Q&A, but merely content to chew the scenery in a similar role
here. *especially Gabriel Byrne and Armand Assante; at least we're spared them referring to Whalley as a dame."