Settle in. Take a deep breath. Hold tight. The best screen version yet of a novel by John Grisham (The Firm, The Pelican Brief) delivers all-out, moment-by-moment suspense! Headliners Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones join newcomer Brad Renfro in The Client, a whirlwind thriller that "starts like a house afire and keeps on blazing" (Chicago Tribune). Renfro plays Mark Sway, an 11-year-old torn between what he knows and what he can never tell. A hitman will snuff him in half a heartbeat if Mark reveals what he learned about a Mob murder. An ambitious federal prosecutor (Jones) will keep the pressure on until Mark tells all. Suddenly, Mark isn't a boy playing air guitar anymore. He's a pawn in a deadly game. And his only ally is a courageous but unseasoned attorney (Sarandon) who risks her career for him...but never imagines she'll also risk her life.
The exceptionally fine cast--Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, J.T. Walsh, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Edwards, William H. Macy, Anthony LaPaglia, Ossie Davis, and Brad Renfro--goes a long way toward making The Client
one of the more solidly enjoyable screen adaptations of a John Grisham southern gothic legal thriller. Teen-hearthrob Renfro is a natural, playing a kid whose life is in jeopardy after he witnesses the death of a Mob lawyer. Susan Sarandon is the attorney who decides to look after the boy; nobody can match her when it comes to playing strong and protective maternal figures (Thelma and Louise
, Lorenzo's Oil
, Dead Man Walking
). Sarandon won her fourth Oscar nomination as best actress for this role, before finally winning the following year for Dead Man Walking
. Author Grisham was so impressed with former window dresser/fashion designer/screenwriter-turned-director Joel Schumacher's work on this movie that he later asked him to direct A Time to Kill
. --Jim Emerson