Movie Review: The Firm

It’s been a while since I did a review on here for film, so why not visit a nineties thriller? I read The Firm when it came out in paperback–still remember the cover quite vividly. I missed the movie when it was out, but I’d heard good things. Good enough to have it still be kicking around in my head as a “film I’d maybe like to watch” years later. Then I saw it was directed by Sydney Pollack, and it officially made its way to my Netflix queue.

The only problem? That 154 minute running time. That’s an awful long time for a thriller to keep thrilling, and it’s too much for me to have time to watch in a single evening these days. (Busy man, am I.)  But I two nights in a row? I could swing that.

The movie was a pleasant surprise. Taut and tense throughout, with some fine performances. Not the best thriller I’ve ever seen, but it was twisty and turny and managed to keep me guessing for most of it. (It helped that I haven’t read the book in something like 20 years.) Tom Cruise plays the part of a young lawyer, fresh out of law school and at the top of his class, who’s recruited by all the top law firms. He accepts an offer that seems too good to be true.

And of course, it turns out to be just that.

Seriously, people. When are you all going to learn that offers that are too good to be true should just be turned down without further thought? I blame Cinderella and her fairy godmother. People see the credits roll on that Disney movie, and they all think that offer worked out for her. It didn’t. Think of the poor woman now: slave to a mouse in a suit, forced to sit in parade after parade chock full of gaping tourists.

Not quite a happily ever after, is it?

But wait–I was writing a film review here, wasn’t I? Right. Other highlights of the movie for me were the score (sparse piano music for the most part, often used to great effect) [*EDIT–My agent rightfully pointed out I ought to give props to Dave Grusin, the composer of said score. It really is one of the features of the film.] and Wilford Brimley. Anytime you can have Mr. Quaker Oats play an evil security guard, you’re in for a treat. I like to think all the oatmeal shilling was just a cover for his spy escapades.

Anyway. It’s a good movie. Rated R for a fair amount of language, alas. Still, if that doesn’t turn you off, there are definitely worse ways to spend 154 minutes of your life. 7/10.

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