Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Juror (1996)

While we're on the subject of trials...

We know it's the mid-nineties, not so much because the phones are huge and laptop screens aren't as big as their lids, but because Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin dutifully thump their Snapple bottles before opening them.

Still, some of the trends have outworn the star quality of the film's leads, notably those embodied by the wardrobe of Mr Baldwin, which clearly points the way to the high-waited strides still regularly shown off by Simon Cowell.

There are three kinds of mafioso here. The pretentious, slightly podgy psycho-lothario as played by the man in the aforementioned trousers, the utterly ludicrous comedy-camp, badda-bi version of Sonny Corleone played by Michael Rispoli and then there's James Gandolfini honing his act as the conflicted 'family' man.

I was going through my '99 diary recently and came across the entry recording my last viewing of The Juror. I'd forgotten a lot about it, except of course the heinous misrepresentation of life in the Guatemalan highlands (filmed in Morelos, Mexico) which occurs in its final section...complete with the kind of root-clad faux-Zapotec temple that you'd expect to come across in an episode of Lost. Fourteen years have passed and thankfully the world has become too small to get away with this sort of nonsense any more.

Grade: B

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