A Time to Kill (1996)

A Time to Kill (1996) Original One-Sheet Movie Poster - Original ...

I gave it my best chance, but I had to eliminate the Punish-Myself-Binge at four movies.  Sorry, but that was all I could stand.

I have been wanting to re-watch this film for awhile now and I figured this would be a good time to go ahead and do it.

A Time to Kill is a film directed by Joel Schumacher and starred Matthew McConaughey, Samuel L. Jackson and Sandra Bullock.

After the brutal rape of his 10-year old daughter by two white boys, Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) took justice into his own hands, shooting and killing them on the steps of the Mississippi courthouse.  Cocky young lawyer Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) took the case which ignited a racial firestorm.

Race is a huge theme of the film, of course, with the question of whether Carl Lee Hailey could receive a fair trial in Mississippi being right out front.  The Ku Klux Klan became a huge part of the conflict as well, bringing the level of hatred and violence to a deadly height.

Speaking of that, I wonder if Keifer Sutherland was really glad to get cast as Jack Bauer in the 24 series, because he was constantly being cast as steel faced villains in so many films of the time.  Here he was Freddie Cobb, the brother of one of the men Carl Lee shot and the emphasis behind the return of the KKK to the town.  Kiefer had a menacing glare that he put on display in a ton of films, from Stand By Me to A Few Good Men to The Lost Boys.  I’m just saying that it was probably a relief to be seen as a hero once.

While some of this film drags, the scenes in the courtroom, in particular Jake’s summation, is powerful and emotionally resonant.  When the film is at its best, the film is soaring.

Samuel L. Jackson is great as Carl Lee and his relationship with Jake is vital to the film and the resolution of the case.

Sandra Bullock, Donald Sutherland, Charles Dutton, Oliver Platt, Ashley Judd, Kevin Spacey, and Chris Cooper lead a cast that is very strong with all of their performances.

A Time to Kill hits hard and has a great message that is still relevant today.


A Time to Kill (1996) Original One-Sheet Movie Poster - Original ...

2 thoughts on “A Time to Kill (1996)

  1. Rewatched this one by accident a few years ago when it came on TV during the middle of the day. Held up surprisingly well! A great star-making performance by McConnaughey. The camera stays on him for a long time in that final monologue, and he delivers.


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