Aaron Sorkin proves his wordsmith skill with this excellent US Navy court room drama, starting a very height weight cast, including
Kevin Bacon and of course the one and only
The premise of the movie is whether or not a ‘code red’, an unofficial disciplinary action, was authorized by the highest ranked officer on the base, in this case Nicholson playing
Col. Jessup. Cruise, Kaffee, is a young recently graduated Naval lawyer, who to date, has never seen a court room, as he manages to plea bargain all his successful cases, ensuring they never see public record.
When a young marine is killed after a code red, Kaffee is given the case to make sure it never sees a court room. However, Demi Moore has other plans and basically co-hearses Kaffee into doing the job he was trained to do.
Once they start down this path, they soon realize that the only officer that really matters in all of this is the one at the top, the wise ass, strong armed Nicholson. The second of the movie focuses on this dynamic with the usual court room climax.
Col. Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I’m entitled to.
Col. Jessep: *You want answers?*
Kaffee: *I want the truth!*
Col. Jessep: *You can’t handle the truth!*
The movie simply works without any fuss. The dialogue is fast and snappy, with Cruise delivering each one effortlessly. The supporting characters are equally believable in their roles giving this story a depth that could easily have been lost in the hands of a lesser cast.
There is a lot of wit in this movie, a Sorkin signature move, accompanied by a lot of the techniques he would reuse when coming at the hugely successful West Wing TV series. The technical details of the law, or the Navy, doesn’t get in the way of the viewer by intimidating them with lots of jargon.
The movie closes with what is now a classic courtroom spar off, ending in Nicholson going down. It doesn’t matter how many times you watch this movie, this scene never gets old. Still gives goosebumps on the run up.
A Few Good Men, should be any serious movie fan’s yearly rotation never failing to satisfy.
#85 in the series
Wednesday, 11th November 2015 (Richmond)