I will be honest, I knew very little of this movie before I saw it. I knew what most know that haven’t seen this film, that at some point, Jack Nicholson says “You can’t handle the truth!”. “A Few Good Men” has been referred to as many as a truly great film, so I am here to justify those statements.
When two marines are accused of murdering a fellow marine, Lieutenant Daniel Kaffe (Tom Cruise) is called in to defend their case because he has extensive knowledge in negotiating plea bargains. However, with any good courtroom drama, everyone knows there is nothing exciting about accepting a plea bargain, no, they need a gripping trial. So the basic idea is that these marines were following orders, a code red order to be precise. That code red order resulted in the death of William Santiago. Am I the only person who thought that Santiago died after drinking Mountain Dew: Code Red?
The defense has no evidence other than the defendant’s word. The facts of the case are devastating and condemning, therefore, it doesn’t look very good for the defense. That is to be expected though, court dramas need to have suspense, so usually it is done a couple of ways. One, the defense lawyer is a pompous jerk that is full of himself, but gets wrapped up in the case to the point where it’s no longer about him, but about his clients. Two, the defense lawyer is inexperienced but gradually gets better and better throughout the case. “A Few Good Men” is the latter of the two. In both scenarios, the case will be exciting and sound oh so legally smart.
Yes, this movie is thorough and intelligent, but at the same time, kind of boring. The acting is spot on, the cast ensemble is made up of a number of recognizable names. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the film, it was pretty flawless. It depends though, on who will be drawn to this type of movie. Being a criminal justice major, I thought it was compelling, but I know plenty of others that would yawn just waiting for a result.
For a lot of people, the difference between a good court drama and a boring court drama is the nature of the crime and how much the prosecution has against you. Even in “Liar, Liar”, the prosecution had plenty against the defense as Jim Carrey’s character couldn’t ask the questions that would let him win. Usually, the main character hits that huge obstacle that is typically out of the ordinary for real life scenarios. This film was incredibly realistic, and so was the obstacles. In that regards, it was very well thought out, and beautifully written. Is it entertaining though? Depends on who you ask.
More or less, this turns out as more of simulation of real life court when in the case defendants don’t take a plea bargain. The fact of the matter is, in most cases, more than 95% take a plea bargain in hopes of getting a lesser sentence. People are scared, paranoid that they would lose and get sent away for a long time. Again, how many movies do we see where the defendant takes a plea bargain? None, because that’s boring and the movie would be over in ten minutes.
Overall, it’s good. It is very realistic and very well done, but this movie is only targeted towards a specific target audience. I was and wasn’t part of that target audience. I was because I’m majoring in criminal justice, I wasn’t because I’m not in school when I watch a movie. So I can’t exactly give it five stars, but I will happily give it four.