“A Time to Kill”

Looking for a powerful, thought-provoking film that will stick with you for the rest of quarantine? Look no further.


David Torcivia at https://www.flickr.com/photos/viatorci/

Matthew McConaughey plays the role of Jake Brigance, a young lawyer determined on seeking justice.

Rayna Minix, Entertainment Editor

Teeming with some of the most famous actors to be on screen, this 1996 American crime drama film was bound to be good. Based on John Grisham’s 1989 novel, “A Time to Kill,” directed by Joel Schumacher turned out to be a must see. 

Set in Canton, Mississippi, a young black girl is brutally raped by two white men who left her for dead. Her father (Samuel L. Jackson) does what most would say is pretty reasonable and shoots them dead on their way to trial. He then turns to Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) to defend him against all odds. 

The situation is bad enough to begin with, but then throw in a resurgence of the local Klu Klux Klan chapter, persistent on sending the grieving father, Carl Lee Hailey, to the gas chamber, and hurting everyone around him in the process.

This movie is gripping and intense from start to finish. When the credits rolled, I figured it had been maybe a ninety minute movie or so. Turns out it was two and a half hours.

There is just about every movie genre sprinkled somewhere in this movie, making it seem so real. And the acting is phenomenal, everybody feels their role so deeply. With other big names such as Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Kevin Spacey, and Donald Sutherland, it is no wonder the acting plays a major role in the value of this movie. 

This southern drama encapsulates the racial tension during this time frame and taught me more than any history books ever will.

The film drew me in and forced me to build a connection with the characters. I especially recommend it if you are already a fan of law or crime movies. A large majority of the film takes place in the courtroom, but not too much to where it becomes repetitive. There is constantly new information being thrown at the viewer and it never slows down. You see this young actor take on a case that could easily destroy his entire future, and you root for him every step of the way. 

Quite frankly, I do not believe that there is a single person who would not benefit from the powerful message of this movie. And the beauty of it, is that there is more than one. It is thought-provoking and touching, and I am sure that it will leave you with a different mindset. There is a famous scene towards the end, and if you do watch the movie, you will know what I am talking about, where there really are no other words to describe it except for breathtaking. It definitely gave me goosebumps. 

Personally, I think this movie may have just inched its way to somewhere near the top of my list for favorite movies. It is smart, beautifully done, emotional, thrilling, and valuable. Oh, and it sure doesn’t hurt to get to watch Matthew McConaughey for almost three hours.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Email Rayna Minix at [email protected]