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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10.94%
Worth A Look34.38%
Average: 31.25%
Pretty Bad: 20.31%
Total Crap: 3.13%

5 reviews, 34 user ratings

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Civil Action, A
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by Erik Childress

"Strategy Brings Fresh Approach To Courtroom Genre"
4 stars

A Civil Action (*** Ĺ) - Iíve been getting tremendous heat from friends of mine for really liking this picture. One of the reasons I liked it so much was because not only was it a fascinating story, expertly told, but that it took a fresh approach to the age-old courtroom picture. Here is a film not interested in the surprise twists of other courtroom movies, but focuses on the strategy of the law.

And the court case really plays like a subplot for what the real meat of this story is and that is the Travolta character and his law firm. Following the financial pattern that one lawsuit has on a small, but rich law firm, hooked me big time. The movie also gained strength throughout its running time. My favorite sequence involves a montage of minor segments of the actual trial mixed with Robert Duvall teaching his Harvard class - itís a wonderfully edited piece of film - and so is the film as a whole. Iíd like to see an editing nomination on Feb. 9. And the performances are first-rate too. Duvall is a shoo-in for an Oscar nod with his eccentric yet brilliant lawyer. And Iím really hoping to see Travolta pull up a nod for either this or Primary Colors. William H. Macy has a few nice moments as well and hopefully this will put him in line for an Oscar nod too for either this or Pleasantville.

The key to this whole movie lies in its final line - a question - one which Travolta handles beautiful. A lot of people Iíve seen the film with havenít liked it as much as I have, citing other courtroom movies as a lot better. There have been better, but we havenít been able to call one fresh in a long time. And thatís why I liked it so much.

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originally posted: 02/15/00 15:35:14
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User Comments

10/08/07 {RIP}_Deadman It was great... Jack how can u say that the acting lacks imagination. The acting was awsome 5 stars
11/21/06 latif ossor good movie 5 stars
10/18/04 juan I think that this was a very good movie. Filmink Magazine owes viewers an appology. 5 stars
5/23/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back, Mo'Fos!) Yep, it was overrated. But, Travolta, Hedaya, & Macy were pretty good. 3 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Absolutely nothing new on display here. Even the acting's lacking in imagination. 2 stars
4/04/02 Francis good production values, but fails to sustain interest to the end 3 stars
7/07/01 Scott "David and Goliath," my *ss; arrogant attorney blowing a big case he should have settled. 5 stars
6/30/01 Damn What do I konw? 2 stars
6/10/01 Phil M. Afficianado Thought provoker/disturber like Erin B & Insider. Good work to do 11 yrs in 115 minutes 4 stars
9/29/00 Terrie Smith One of the better Travolta films; nice performance from Robert Duvall in a small role. 4 stars
5/02/00 Fishsticks Not sensationalised into a thriller- and its pretty good. 4 stars
11/28/99 mpls31 I REALLY Loved it! BEST THING EVER 5 stars
11/04/99 Ben Leostein Rating: *** (out of ****) Category: "Good" 4 stars
7/24/99 Jacques Strapp Movie about a lawyer who goes broke because he's stupid and egotistical. Lame. 2 stars
4/01/99 Ah Dooey Hey Derek, you're right. 4 stars
3/02/99 slimshady yawn..wake me when its over 1 stars
2/27/99 Lonnie Sandberg Bad ending they just wanted to get it done 2 stars
2/22/99 Jeff HOUN Disappointing, all information not passed on to viewers on test results taken on grounds 2 stars
2/18/99 Derek Truthful portrayal of civil litigation. Surprisingly successful adaptation of the book. 4 stars
2/18/99 Piz Very smart film but got boring and worse as it went 3 stars
1/26/99 Tony K. Thought-provoking and engrossing, despite Travolta's unconvincing delivery of his lines. 4 stars
1/25/99 jvt poor direction and it drags but it's a fine legal film overall 3 stars
1/25/99 Meepos. Quintessential disappointment. Expected better. 3 stars
1/24/99 Melissa Very overrated. Duvall, Macy and Travolta are good, just not a great film. 3 stars
1/19/99 grunter a courtroom drama about poisened drinking water? yeah, that'll rake in the bucks 1 stars
1/16/99 Scott Weber This movie is not very good. The story is okay, but it doesn't go anywhere. 2 stars
1/13/99 buddy Well acted, nicely written and directed. 5 stars
1/12/99 Mr Showbiz William H. Macy and Robert Duvall do their level best to enliven the proceedings, but John 3 stars
1/12/99 cynthia thought it would be better 3 stars
1/12/99 Gamma Not enough of Lithgow for me, his moments were good. Duvall == awesome. Ending was weak 4 stars
12/27/98 Kirgo Well done...subtle...great editing 4 stars
12/26/98 The Dude very cool - its kind of a drama, thriller 5 stars
8/28/98 Mister Whoopee Sloooooow. Directorial overkill. Disappointing. 2 stars
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  25-Dec-1998 (PG-13)


  29-Apr-1999 (PG)

Directed by
  Steven Zaillian

Written by
  Jonathan Harr

  John Travolta
  Robert Duvall
  James Gandolfini
  Dan Hedaya
  John Lithgow

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