A Time to Kill

January 27, 2017 General Studies

A Time to Kill which was based on a novel written by Grisham, it was released in 1996 and directed by Joel Schumer. This movie shows a struggling black man in a racially charged court room drama. Carl Lee Hailey, played by Samuel L. Jackson murders the two men who rapes and beats his ten year old Tanya, and then leaves her for dead, and then defended by a white local lawyer, Jake Brigance played by Matthew McConaughey. The movie begins with two drunken men driving through a poor black community in Mississippi, as they continue to drive they shout and taunt innocent African American by standers on the road. In the beginning of the movie the editor cuts in and out between the two drunken men driving and the little girl (Tanya) at the local grocery store. I think this is a very good start it shows the differences between the two things we”re dealing with, innocence represented by the girl and the evil and racism represented by the two drunken racists. Shortly after the two men pickup the girl and brutally rape and beat her. There is a very interesting seen when the sheriff goes to arrest the two men in a local bar, the sheriff who was black was also antagonized with racial slurs and demeaning manor. .

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I have read many different views on the movie, many of the critics said that it was a very predictable and boring movie. The very well known critic Roger Ebert even gives a review that doesn’t praise the movie but does recommend seeing the movie. Ebert also says “I was absorbed by “A Time to Kill”, and found the performances strong and convincing”, “This is the best of film versions of Grisham Novels, I think it has been directed with skill-.(Ebert pg. 2) Ebert’s review expresses that the roles played by Samuel L. Jackson and Matthew McConaughey is what made the movie, but Ebert asks the question “can a black man get a fair trial after murdering two white men, even in the “new” South?”.


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