More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 16.18%
Average: 23.53%
Pretty Bad: 17.65%
Total Crap: 11.76%

3 reviews, 50 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Luxor by Peter Sobczynski

Wander by Peter Sobczynski

Love, Weddings & Other Disasters by Peter Sobczynski

Black Bear by Peter Sobczynski

Poison Rose, The by Jack Sommersby

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by Jay Seaver

Fat Man and Little Boy by Jack Sommersby

Harry & Son by Jack Sommersby

Shattered by Jack Sommersby

Deathstalker II by Jack Sommersby

subscribe to this feed

Time to Kill, A
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Chris Parry

"The kind of race debate you'd find on a box of Wheaties."
2 stars

Sam Jackson knows how to own the screen. Matt McConnaughey knows how to own his women. Sandra Bullock has a good agent. Papa and Junior Sutherland don't. And thus you have A Time To Kill in a nutshell.

What tries to be an impassioned story of how black and white should all live together in harmony turns out a mish-mash of insincere emotion, long speeches with the impact of bird-poop dropped from a low height, and the sort of romantic vacuum not seen since Contact.

McConnaughey, for all his rugged wavy haired good looks, is not an actor's asshole. No, scratch that. An actor's asshole is exactly what he is. He has no charm, no delivery, no humour, no presence. He's a vehicle for words. "We need a good looking southerner.. well, it's McConnaughey or Harry Connick Jnr.. Connick's in jail again? Get McConnaughey on the phone, he's out on bail I believe."

Sandra Bullock is the kind of success story that could never happen in Europe, or if the studios were accountable. Let's go through the list of shame. Speed 2: Cruise Control - a lower movie I have not seen, The Net - my first movie walk-out, Practical Magic - my second movie walk-out, Hope Floats - the trailer parks were empty when this one previewed, Speed - she drove a bus, big deal. And then there's this. Well, she doesn't kill the movie like usual. That's because she's only in it for about two minutes of total screen time, some of which includes her being tied to a tree by Klansmen. Gotta love that.

The Sutherland family... Such promise on both ends, such a fall from grace for both. Donald Sutherland has forgotten more about acting than I'll ever know. Unfortunately he hasn't remembered anything at all. Young Keifer has shown promise with the director's cap, perhaps more than he can show as an actor anymore. He's always gonna be the dislikeable redneck/lunatic/vampire guy and there's nothing he can do about it.

And then there's Sammy. Miss Jackson if you're nasty. Jackson is the one redeeming feature of this film and wihtout him the others might have got away with their blandness. With him, they're exposed as shallow, overrated hacks.

Kevin Spacey is also involved, but he's just a name for the poster. His character isn't given more than one minute that doesn't involve questioning witnesses. He's a non-character.

Story rundown in twenty words - rednecks rape little girl, daddy shoots them dead, daddy's trial turns into an OJ style race trial.

The premise of this film revolves around, indeed depends on, us as viewers wanting Jackson to get off the charges of murder by virtue of temporary insanity. I don't know about you, but I think that's a crock of shit. You shoot people dead, even child rapists, before they face trial, then you're a balls to the wall murderer. For all the moaning and conniving McConnaughey's good guy lawyer is forced to do, it's almost ignored that Jackson is the bad guy. He killed two folks and we're expected to want him to get off.

Now, if the child rapists had faced trial and got off the charges, THEN I could understand Miss Jackson taking to the shotgun, but he shot them going in. The man is an out and out murderer, not a good guy. He never let justice take its course and colour shouldn't come into it.

If the film explored this side I would applaud it in doing it's job well. But it doesn't. It brushes it aside like the kind of annoying details it brushes aside throughout the movie.

Such as: McConnaughey's house burns down. Three hours later he's in court like nothing happened. Bullock is beat up. In hospital, nobody bothers asking her who it was that did it. McConnaughey's wife is talking divorce and takes off for her mom's house, and McConnaughey ignores that and flirts with Bullock. People are being shot outside the courthouse, but the courtroom never postpones a minute of proceedings. A Klansmen is caught planting a bomb in McConnaughey's home, but nobody thinks to plant guards there. I could go on.

This is one of those films best enjoyed by folks who have seen no more than three films in the last year, and who get their political ideals from the Lifestyle Channel. They'll not look too closely at what's going on and will be fodder for this cheaply constructed courtroom "drama". Those people who like their race-debates a little more intense, realistic and thought-provoking might like to consider taking out The Ghosts Of Mississippi on video and ignoring this pile of cack. It's not worthy.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 03/01/99 11:30:40
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

3/10/14 FireWithFire Should be titled "A Time To Kill Whites", or just plain "Kill Whitey" 1 stars
10/25/10 Jeff Wilder Easily the best Grisham adaptation. Has more emotional connection than they usually do. 4 stars
2/22/09 action movie fan a powerful story-clever and unique and well worth it 5 stars
7/26/08 The Dork Knight The book sucked, too 2 stars
1/28/08 Pamela White Movie reveals how color blind we truely are 5 stars
12/11/07 bronson Mejia Donald Southerland hugging "The bottle" was the final straw for me. Sorry acting. 2 stars
2/09/07 Bitchflaps Laughably overblown and self-important. McConaughy is dreadful. 1 stars
9/11/06 Sepi53 Great cast in a super film!! 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist I hate racism, I hate rednecks, I love equallity, I love this film. Legendary 5 stars
11/23/05 Lennie worth seeing 4 stars
6/12/05 Steve Apparently Chris Parry missed the beginning of this movie or he would have got the shooting 4 stars
12/27/04 mjoc Powerful. Best Grisham on film. 5 stars
10/26/04 Naka McCOnaghey is fantastic, surprisingly; very human preformance. Decent film overall. 4 stars
10/26/04 R.W. Welch Heavily cliche'd legal potboiler has Bullock miscast tho McConaughey does well. 3 stars
10/24/04 Y. Roger Gregory Don't even remember Ashley Judd being in it, but it's just as bad as if I did! 1 stars
6/06/04 john bale Brilliant cast and script make this a fine adaption of the novel 5 stars
5/31/04 Nobody fascinating 5 stars
5/30/04 Jess I absolutely love this movie, well explored social issues. 5 stars
4/28/04 LIAM JACKSON fantastic. i wish all depraved racist filth get wot those 2 redneck fucks got! 5 stars
1/27/04 Chloe Brody wow - this was fucking awesome!!! Read the book too! 5 stars
10/14/03 Holly Awesome movie. Best I've seen yet 5 stars
7/25/03 tina great shit 5 stars
4/17/03 Y. Roger Gregory Don't even remember Ashley Judd being in it, but it's just as bad as if I did! 1 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Overblown and dramatically obvious. A boilerplate of uncouth sensationalism. 1 stars
2/03/03 Charles Tatum I cannot believe how caught up in this I was 5 stars
11/24/02 Kyle Riveting! 5 stars
3/03/02 Eileen Overstreet W/ Judd, Bullock & Jackson, lacked only John Travolta to complete the four pillars of Satan 1 stars
2/27/02 Shrike Good stuff, JG tale that hits the mark 4 stars
11/27/01 sdfr myopic, skewed and bigoted fantasy with truly objectionable views on white-black relations 1 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean Over the top 3 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk The best Grisham adaptation. McConnaughey shines as does the rest of the cast. 4 stars
6/23/01 Justin Cheung I love this movie, simple as that, Highly reccommend it! 5 stars
4/19/01 Tam Fantastic concept, very original. Fab courtroom scenes, believable performances. 4 stars
4/01/01 ~*Co_Co*~ What words could describe this utterly fabulous film? Scary, thrilling, fantastic! The best 5 stars
3/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Superior. Excellent. A social message that just can't be ignored. 5 stars
1/24/00 Casey Jarzabek SAMUEL L IS THE FUNNIEST ACTOR I KNOW 1 stars
1/07/00 JussMatt A real solid movie for a change!! Great casting! A must see! 5 stars
9/22/99 Allison Johanning Great movie 5 stars
7/20/99 Matthew Bartley Not particulary intelligent,but gripping and moving 4 stars
1/25/99 Chloe Marie Elestenogoph ( It bit. What can you expect from Joel Shitmaker? 2 stars
1/16/99 Melissa Critics aside, loved McConaughey, Jackson and Spacey. See it if you haven't. 5 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink Well-acted nonsense. 3 stars
11/24/98 Fred The only good Grisham film. But I want to see ALL the Klansmen burn up. 4 stars
9/23/98 Jason Rosenbaum In my top 20 favorites. 5 stars
9/08/98 Johny Who's moronic idea was it to have McConnaughey and Bullock lead a drama? 2 stars
9/04/98 Badass Jackson is good in an otherwise put-on of a drama 3 stars
9/01/98 MikeF This was ok. it got boring in some parts. but it was still ok. 4 stars
8/30/98 Mister Whoopee Bullock and boring man aside, this was quite enjoyable. 4 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Bullock + McConnaughey = The worst combo in Hollywood. Ever. Truth. 2 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  24-Jul-1996 (R)



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast