The Chamber (1996) / Thriller-Drama
MPAA Rated: R for violent images and some language
Running Time: 113 min.
Cast: Chris O'Donnell, Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Robert Prosky
Director: James Foley
Screenplay: William Goldman, Chris Reese (Based on the novel by John Grisham)
Review published December 31, 1996
Based on the novel by John Grisham, a greenhorn attorney (O'Donnell, Batman Forever) must defend his Klansman grandfather (Hackman, Get Shorty) who is a month away from execution for murdering two young Jewish boys in a bank bombing.
Although it has its moments, this film is an uninspired talkathon. The mood is curiously detached, despite the sensational nature of the story. Hackman does a good job but may be miscast, and O'Donnell is far too bland to carry a film like this. James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross, After Dark My Sweet) must have fallen asleep in the director's chair...I certainly almost did in mine!
This type of story has been done before several times, and much better in many cases. If you like watching two hours of talking heads, maybe you'll be entertained, but there's more excitement and intrigue watching C-Span than this snoozer. For die-hard Grisham fans only.
©1996 Vince Leo