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.
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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
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