A Time to Kill
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Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) takes the law into his own hands after the legal system fails to adequately punish the men who brutally raped and beat his daughter, leaving her for dead. Normally, a distraught father could count on some judicial sympathy in those circumstances. Unfortunately, Carl and his daughter are black, and the assailants are white, and all the events take place in the South. Indeed, so inflammatory is the situation, that the local KKK (led by Kiefer Sutherland) becomes popular again. When Hailey chooses novice lawyer Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) to handle his… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A likable -- maybe even lovable -- movie."
‑ Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
"If the film doesn't add up to a cogent legal argument, neither does it have trouble delivering 2 hours and 20 minutes' worth of sturdy, highly charged drama."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"What craven offal!"
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"With Joel Schumacher's tasteful but second-rate-Sidney-Lumet direction and Akiva Goldsman's nuts-and-bolts script, these boys have created a surprisingly stirring indictment of racism."
‑ Brandon Judell, Entertainment Asylum
"The best Grisham to hit the screen yet."
‑ Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com
"Although it has its share of implausibilities, A Time To Kill is generally the most satisfying of the John Grisham screen adaptations to date."
‑ Todd McCarthy, Variety
"Untrained as an actor, with only three minor roles to his credit, McConaughey holds the screen against Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock and Kevin Spacey, and completely justifies the buzz surrounding his role..."
‑ Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
"A gritty, intense and engaging courtroom drama."
‑ , Film4
"Looks aren't enough. In the lead, McConaughey isn't there."
‑ Jake Euker, F5 (Wichita, KS)
"Dumbed down debate on the death penalty."
‑ Alex Sandell, Juicy Cerebellum
"Justice may be blind, but rarely have courtroom dramas presumed quite so heavily on cultural myopia as this heinous version of John Grisham's first novel."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"McConaughey, 26, is dynamite in a performance of smarts, sexiness, scrappy humor and unmistakable star sizzle."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Only a screenplay by Akiva Goldsman could make things worse--and lo and behold, speak of the devil and Old Scratch appears."
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"McConaughey nails with such laconic grace that some critics are comparing him to the young Paul Newman and to Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird."
‑ Judith Egerton, Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
"Insight into black/white relations is superficial -- disappointing when you consider that the moral of the story is supposed to be how large a role race plays in the execution of justice."
‑ Jeanne Aufmuth, Palo Alto Weekly
More reviews for A Time to Kill on Rotten Tomatoes

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