The Client (1994)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A Grisham Favorite.

I’ve mentioned before that John Grisham was one of my favorite authors, and that I own most of his books. I haven’t exactly read all of them, but they are all pretty unique. One of the books that I have read was The Client. I’ll be honest, this was one of my first Grisham reads, and I really loved the book. I can’t recall if I saw the movie before I read the book, I just know that both are exceptionally well done because the story is really good in general. I decided that I’ll be going through Grisham’s movie collection. I’ve already reviewed a couple: A Time to Kill, Christmas with the Kranks, which leaves seven more:

  1. Chamber, The
  2. Client, The
  3. Firm, The
  4. Gingerbread Man, The
  5. Pelican Brief, The
  6. Rainmaker, The
  7. Runaway Jury

So I’ll start with The Client, obviously. The client in question is Mark Sway, a child who witnesses a suicide. This suicide is special, because the victim told Mark the location where the mob recently buried a body. That means if Mark says anything, he’s a dead man, if he doesn’t, he’s prosecuted and thrown into jail by some tough federal lawyers, one of which, is the Rev (Tommy Lee Jones). Basically, this kid has to find a way to live and not put his life in jeopardy, that’s where mother-figure/attorney Reggie Love (Susan Sarandon) comes into the picture, and she sure puts a spin on things.

John Grisham was always a god at making something previously thought of as tedious and boring into something wildly exciting and unique. A legal thriller. Surely he didn’t come up with them, but he definitely made the genre popular. When anyone thinks of legal thriller, they also think…John Grisham, and The Client is a pretty solid example as to why. I won’t go into details about the book because I haven’t read it in a good while, but the movie is definitely very well done as well. For a twenty year old movie, it still translates very well for a modern audience. There are a few goofy things here and there that feel like classic ‘90s, like some of the overacting, maybe some of the music, but for the most part…this film would work if it came out today as well.

It’s unique in the sense of a legal thriller told through the perspective of a child’s eyes. The very idea that adults are the enemy, and how things they do greatly affect children are both major themes in this film. Actually, a lot of kid-centric ideas are tossed around, like how the justice system thinks they can do anything around a kid, like obtaining evidence illegally. Then, of course, Susan Sarandon shows up and kicks things into gear. As with a lot of Grisham stories, it strives away from technicalities in order to maintain true justice, but it’s done respectively.

This is an exciting adventure thriller about family and loyalty. The actors did a great job portraying their characters, and introducing events that you can be fascinated with. If I had to say one bad thing about it, would be that some people might not understand why everything wasn’t working together on the case. Why did it have to be adversarial when they all technically wanted the same thing, for the boy to give up the information? Just keep in mind that he would give it all up if he knew that doing so wouldn’t be putting his family at risk. This kid isn’t stupid.

The Good:

This is definitely worth putting on the list of great Grisham stories, as is most of his films. The story is unique and original, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The Bad:

Not a lot of people care about legal films, even if it is a thriller. Those same people typically don’t care for John Grisham novels, and their right, this movie wouldn’t do them any good.


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