Adapting Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s bestseller about their investigation in the Watergate scandal, director Alan J. Pakula, screenwriter William Goldman and Robert Redford accomplished the near impossible. They made a genuinely gripping political thriller out of the day-to-day drudgery of the life of a newspaper reporter.
They did it without hyping up the story with a lot of false Hollywood devices or overly glamorizing its lead characters. It is this prosaic sense of everyday reality, this semi-documentary style that gives the film its tension. There is no point where you are comforted by the thought that it couldn’t happen this way. It could and it did. The film shows the two reporters often beating their heads against the wall. At many times their story teeters on the edge of failure and you realize just how close the perpetrators came to getting away with it.
Now that he’s making sequels to Pirates of the Carribean, Johnny Depp can hopefully steer clear of films that put people uncomfortably in mind, if just for a moment, of the recent Michael Jackson business. After this and Charlie and the Chocalate Factory, we’re ready to move on, Johnny.
Be forewarned, while I normally avoid giving out plot spoilers in my reviews, I feel like it’s necessary this time to fully get my opinion across.
Runaway Jury is probably one of the more morally bankrupt mainstream movies I’ve seen. It stacks the deck completely in favor of one side in order to justify the deplorable actions of the film’s hero, which amount to no less than subverting the justice system to suit his own agenda. The fact that he is, in effect, giving the film’s villain a taste of his own medicine is completely irrelevant when our protagonist is also sinking to the same level or lower.