PG-13 1994 Mystery/Suspense 1:59
Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony LaPaglia, Anthony Edwards, Brad Renfro, J.T. Walsh, Will Patton, Bradley Whitford, Anthony Heald, Kim Coates, Kimberly Scott, David Speck, William H. Macy, Micole Mercurio, William Sanderson, Walter Olkewicz, William Richert, Dan Castellaneta, John Diehl, Ossie Davis
Director: Joel Schumacher
Based on The Client by John Grisham

Eleven-year old Mark Sway (Renfro) finds out a terrible secret when he witnesses Mafia lawyer Jerome Clifford (Olkewicz) commit suicide for reasons related to his major case. Before dying, Clifford tells Mark a terrible secret. In that case, Clifford is defending Barry "The Blade" Muldanno (LaPaglia), who is accused of murdering U.S. Senator Boyd Boyette. Soon, Sway is attacked at all angles and finds himself in the middle of everything. The FBI, led by hotshot district attorney "Reverend" Roy Foltrigg (Jones), will do anything to find out the truth from Mark. If he tells, though, the mob, including Muldanno and other hitmen, will snuff him in a heartbeat. Mark goes and hires Reggie Love (Sarandon), a female attorney to help him. But when he learns she is a former alcoholic like his ex-father, he wonders if he can trust her.
Oscar Nomination for Best Lead Actress- Susan Sarandon

The complete package. Definitely the greatest movie ever. Well-directed by Schumacher. Tremendous performances by Sarandon, Jones, and Renfro in his film debut. Also good supporting performances by the feisty LaPaglia, the crazy Olkewicz, and newcomer Speck. Great soundtrack and a wonderful feel of the South and the mob. Filled with suspense and adventure. Overall, perfect. A movie that you will want to see again and again and again. Unbelievable, too good for words. Its popularity sparked an unsuccessful TV series, "John Grisham's The Client", which was off the air after one season. Really, The Client is why I love movies.

Settings: Memphis, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana
Summer of 1994
Filmed: Memphis, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; Clinton, Mississippi
Timeframe: 7 days
Release Date: July 20, 1994
Ages: 8 and under- A bit scary, most will be frightened by the opening scenes and the Mob. Also scary for some to see the child in jeopardy position Mark is in.
9-15- A good audience for this tremendous film, although it might be too much for some children as old as 11.
16 and older- Fine, all ages will enjoy this wonderful film.

Warner Brothers, Regency Enterprises

The Book

The Client , author John Grisham's fourth novel, reached #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. The suspenseful book is considered one of Grisham's best. However in a sixth grade class, the book was banned for its realistic description of suicide, frank use of harsh language, and the frightening position the young boy is put into.

John Grisham, a former attorney, has become one of America's most popular authors for his legal thriller novels. Grisham, who lives in Mississippi, also coaches little league baseball. Many of his books have been turned into successful films. In addition to his novels, Grisham wrote his first movie screenplay in 1997 for the movie The Gingerbread Man.

Books: A Time to Kill (1989), The Firm (1992), The Pelican Brief (1993), The Client (1993), The Chamber (1995), The Rainmaker (1996), The Runaway Jury (1997), The Partner (1997), The Street Lawyer (1998), The Testament (1999)

The Firm (1993) starring Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman
The Pelican Brief (1993) starring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington, directed by Alan J. Pakula
The Client (1994) starring Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, and Brad Renfro, directed by Joel Schumacher
A Time to Kill (1996) starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, and Samuel L. Jackson, directed by Joel Schumacher
The Chamber (1996) starring Chris O'Donnell and Gene Hackman, directed by James Foley
John Grisham's The Rainmaker (1997) starring Matt Damon, Claire Danes, and Danny DeVito, directed by Francis Ford Coppola
The Gingerbread Man (1997) starring Kenneth Branagh, directed by Robert Altman


I recently purchased the digital video disc (DVD) of The Client. The two-sided disc, which is only $14.99 from BUY.COM, was released early in 1998. One side of the disc has the film in the regular television format (4:3), while the other side has the widescreen format (1.85:1). That's not all, the disc also includes the original theatrical trailer in both widescreen and regular, some interesting cast biographies and filmographies, instant scene access, production notes, English, French, and Spanish language options, English, French, and Spanish subtitles, a cool article about the filmmakers' search for a young boy to play the title role, which includes information about Brad Renfro. Plus, there's the background to the interactive menus which has some behind-the-scenes footage and "Reel Recommendations" which recommends other Warner Brothers movies that The Client's stars were in and similar types of movies. All in all, for $14.99, this was a HUGE bargain for such a terrific film. I recommend that you all buy this film--it's so good that it's worth getting a DVD player for this disc alone. The picture was so clear and the sound was excellent (even though it's only regular Dolby Digital as opposed to Digital Surround Sound). Also, it was neat to see the widescreen version for the first time--you see so much more, it's like a new movie! Also, the two-and-a-half minute trailer was really cool. What a cool DVD!

The Director

Joel Schumacher is considered one of Hollywood's top-notch directors. In films such as The Client, A Time to Kill, Falling Down, and Batman Forever, Schumacher has shown his versatiliy and skill at moviemaking. Schumacher made a name for himself in the mid-1980s with St. Elmo's Fire and The Lost Boys. In 1993, he worked with Michael Douglas to create the thriller Falling Down. In 1994, Schumacher transformed John Grisham's novel The Client into a spectacular film of the same title, which most would say is the best Grisham film yet. In 1995, Schumacher inspired some life into the Batman film series with his third installment, Batman Forever. With a star-filled cast, a new Batman, and Schumacher's change in direction, Batman Forever was a major box-office success. Based on Schumacher's work on The Client, author John Grisham decided to let the director make a film version of his first novel, A Time to Kill, which Grisham had previously not wanted a less-than-excellent film to be made of. Schumacher's A Time to Kill received much critical praise and created another successful film. In 1997, Schumacher's fourth Batman film, Batman & Robin, was released to much hoopla, but was bashed by many critics. Earlier this year, Schumacher's 8MM, a controversial thrilling film, was well-received at the box-office.

The Cast

SUSAN SARANDON (REGGIE LOVE) is one of America's most talented actresses. In 1996, Sarandon won the Best Leading Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Sister Helen Prejean in the critically-acclaimed Dead Man Walking, which was directed by her longtime live-in boyfriend Tim Robbins. Sarandon finally won the Best Actress after being nominated five times for Atlantic City (1980), Thelma & Louise (1992), Lorenzo's Oil (1993), and The Client (1994). Sarandon has also starred in such films as The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Little Women (1994), Twilight (1998), and Stepmom (1998). Born Susan Abigail Tomalin on October 4, 1946, Sarandon made her feature film debut in the 1970 movie Joe. Sarandon, now 52, lives in New York City and Pound Ridge, NY.

TOMMY LEE JONES (ROY FOLTRIGG) is known for his Southern manners, often tough-guy roles, and solid performances. In 1993, Jones won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as U.S. marshal Sam Gerard in the successful film based on the old TV series, The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford. Jones was born on September 15, 1946 in San Saba, Texas. He made his film debut with a small role in Love Story (1970). Jones attented Harvard University, where he played football and was future Vice President Al Gore's college roommate, and graduated cum laude. Jones is most known for his work in such films as Coal Miner's Daughter (1982), The Client (1994), Cobb (1994), Batman Forever (1995), Men in Black (1997), and the sequel to The Fugitive where he returned with his role as Sam Gerard, U.S. Marshals (1998). Jones made his directorial debut with the TV film The Good Old Boys (1995), which he also wrote and starred in.

MARY-LOUISE PARKER (DIANNE SWAY) was born Mae Green in South Carolina on August 2, 1964. Parker is one of Hollywood's top 30-something actresses, which she has proven by her work in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), The Client (1994), Sugartime (1995), Boys on the Side (1995), and the recently-released Goodbye Lover. Parker's credits also include a number of Broadway shows.

ANTHONY LAPAGLIA (BARRY MULDANNO) was born in Adelaide, Australia in 1958. LaPaglia is known for playing Italian roles, often mobsters with tough personalities. In 1998, LaPaglia won the Tony for Best Actor for his performance in A View From the Bridge, a Broadway play. LaPaglia's most memorable performances are as Barry "the Blade" Muldanno in The Client and as North Carolina St. coach Jim Valvano in the 1996 TV movie Never Give Up: The Jimmy V Story. His other appearances include Paperback Romance, The Commandments, and a brief run on the TV series Murder One.

ANTHONY EDWARDS (CLINT VAN HOOSER) has been acting since a young age and began appearing in major motion pictures in the early 1980s. He is currently known for his role of Dr. Mark Greene on the highest-rated show on television, ER. Edwards, born on July 2, 1966 in California, had roles in the 1980s in films such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, How I Got Into College, and Revenge of the Nerds. In the 1990s, Edwards has continued his career with roles in films like The Client, Charlie's Ghost, Pet Cemetary II, Downtown, and the TV version of In Cold Blood.

J.T. WALSH (MacTHUNE) was a terrific actor known for his villainous roles. Walsh passed away in March of last year at the young age of 54. He had a number of film credits from his acting in the past two years. Most notably, Walsh starred in Blue Chips, A Few Good Men, Breakdown, Pleasantville, Miracle on 34th Street, Hope, and The Client.

WILL PATTON (SERGEANT HARDY) was born on August 14, 1954. Patton has appeared in a number of films with medium-sized roles. His most memorable performances were as police officer Sergeant Hardy in The Client (1994) and as Chick, an oil driller part of a group called upon to save the world, in Armageddon (1998). Patton has also appeared in such films as Romeo is Bleeding, Copycat, and the recently-released Entrapment with Sean Connery.

BRADLEY WHITFORD (THOMAS FINK) has had a number of medium-sized roles in many major motion pictures. Among them, Whitford appeared in Philadelphia, Billy Madison, Adventures in Babysitting, and The Client.

DAVID SPECK (RICKY SWAY) like Brad Renfro, was a complete newcomer to the acting industry when he was cast for a major part in The Client. Speck plays Mark Sway's 8-year-old little brother Ricky. Speck, who is from Little Rock, Arkansas, was fortunate enough to land a part through a talent search as well. His only other film is the 1997 movie Other Voices, Other Rooms.


I saw Apt Pupil last Sunday (10/25) and it was really good. Apt Pupil and Pleasantville are both now in theaters. Last weekend, Pleasantville finished first at the box office in its opening weekend, while Apt Pupil finished in ninth. Tommy Lee Jones was hurt in a polo accident yesterday (10/30), but is now in stable condition, thankfully.

J.T. Walsh's final film will open this Friday (10/23). Pleasantville also stars Client actor William H. Macy, who most recently has been in Fargo and Boogie Nights. Also opening this Friday is Apt Pupil.

Anthony LaPaglia, who played Barry the Blade in the greatest film ever, won the 1998 Tony for Best Actor for his performance in "A View From the Bridge", a Broadway drama.

The Client is now on DVD. The film has sharper picture, mulitple language options, superior sound, AND the ability to watch the movie in either widescreen or TV format.

+ Rest in Peace: J.T. Walsh. +

The Client was left off the list of 400 top movies that were being nominated for the Top 100 Films ever to mark the celebration for 100 years of Motion Pictures. The Client should have been on the top 400 list, the top 100 list, and the number one of all time. The Client Rules! It is a better film than Shawshank Redemption, The Fugitive, and any and all movies made prior to 1970.

That includes farty nostalgic films such as Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and definitely The Best Years of our Lives.

At least, the people were smart enough to nominate The Lion King and Toy Story, but forget it, the great genre of movies knows that The Client is the greatest film ever!

Click here to read The New York Times' article on Brad Renfro--July 12, 1994

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Friday, May 14, 1999


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