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USA 1992
Directed by
Rob Reiner
138 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Few Good Men, A

Rob Reiner's A Few Good Men is a throwback to the kind of skilfully-crafted, moralizing film that Hollywood made in its golden years.  Aaron Sorkin’s highly polished script based on his own stage play, is delivered seamlessly by director Rob Reiner and hoisted on the shoulders of Marc Shaiman's surging score.

Tom Cruise plays Lt. Daniel Kaffee, a cocky military lawyer who has been assigned to defend two U.S. Marines charged with killing a fellow Marine at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Although Kaffee is known for his plea-bargaining skills and is prepared to cut a deal with the prosecuting attorney (Kevin Bacon), his comely colleague, Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore), convinces him to go to trial despite the fact that the odds are against him. Will Kaffee win? Need you ask? Does he have father issues? Of course he does.

Yes, we know where this is going to go from the outset but the pleasure is in the journey which, thanks to Sorkin’s deft script, provides a well-padded ride as the narrative unfolds with both moral redemption earned and moral condemnation meted out as appropriate. 

Cruise is particularly improbable as a Marine lawyer and Moore only slightly less so as his colleague but both give engaging performances and oddly, although mercifully so, there’s no canoodling between them or suggestion that that's what might happen once the story's ended

Jack Nicholson is in classic form as the near-psychotic Col. Nathan R. Jessep, his ‘You can’t handle the truth" witness stand tirade, of course, having attained legendary pop cultural status. Although we know it’s coming, the fact that he falls into Kaffee’s trap still leaves us with a sense of a well-earned victory.  Which you've got to say is a testament to Reiner’s ability to sell us on what is well-packaged old school Hollywood entertainment in modern dress.




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