A Cliche to Kill

While Grisham has one valid point -- that institutionalized racism plagues the U.S. criminal justice system to this day -- he hammers at it so clumsily that you feel like you're being lectured by an earnest but not-too-bright middle-schooler who thinks he's just discovered social injustice. This obvious, overwrought, politically charged mess belongs more to the Sixties than to the Nineties. Justice has never been colorblind, but nowadays the scales are tilted less by a defendant's blackness or whiteness than by his green -- a hue that, for all his ham-handed preaching, multimillionaire Grisham knows only too well.

A Time to Kill.
Written by Akiva Goldsman from the novel by John Grisham; directed by Joel Schumacher; with Matthew McConaughey, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Sandra Bullock,Charles S. Dutton, Patrick McGoohan,Oliver Platt, andDonald Sutherland.

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