The Chamber (1996)

Written by John Chard on March 11, 2016

If you spend half as much time trying to be a lawyer instead of trying to be Dick Tracy, I might not be dead in five days.

The Chamber is directed by James Foley and adapted to screenplay by William Goldman and Phil Alden Robinson from the John Grisham novel of the same name. It stars Gene Hackman, Chris O'Donnell, Faye Dunnaway, Lela Rochon and Robert Prosky. Music is by Carter Burwell and cinematography by Ian Baker.

Young attorney Adam Hall (O'Donnell) fights to keep his Klansman grandfather, Sam Cayhall (Hackman), from the gas chamber.

Grisham famously slated the film, even shouldering some of the blame himself, it's not hard to see why. It's a legal drama without any drama, it plods aimlessly along, getting by on Hackman's fully committed performance. At times it forgets its legal duties and gets wrapped up in family strife, which would be OK if this aspect of the story had anything worthwhile to say, it doesn't, and you can see the cast and director straining to make a two hour talkathon worthy of your time. It isn't, sadly, making it the poorest Grisham adaptation to screen. 5/10