Sleepers

Sleepers is a law movie that tells the story of four best friends growing up in Hell’s Kitchen whose lives change forever on a summer day in 1967. A prank on a hotdog vender goes wrong and the boys end up almost killing a man. Forced to face punishment for their actions, the boys are sentenced to one year in the Wilkinson Home for Boys. There, the boys suffer through nightmarish conditions as they are physically, verbally, and sexually abused by the guards. Over 10 years later we find out that two of the boys, Tommy and John, have grown up to become gang members, drug users, and murderers. The other two, Shakes and Michael, are a newspaper columnist and an assistant district attorney, respectively. Tommy and John walk into a bar one night and realize that the ring leader of the guards, Nokes, who abused them at the Wilkinson


Philadelphia: Beyond a Courtroom Drama

Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, is not only a great legal film, but also a groundbreaking one.  While the film’s courtroom setting and underdog story are familiar to Hollywood films, these familiarities only serve to provide a context for the film’s greater purpose.  Philadelphia is Hollywood’s first exploration of AIDS, its impacts, and the stereotypes and fears that surround it. Philadelphia follows the story of Andy Beckett (Tom Hanks) an up and coming young lawyer at the most prominent firm in the city. Unknown to the firm is that Andy Beckett is a homosexual and that he has AIDS. Upon discovering this, the law firm fires Andy, claiming that the cause was incompetence.  Andy then sues his former employer for discrimination, hiring Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) a small time personal injury lawyer and the only lawyer willing to take his case. The film then proceeds along the typical courtroom drama as the facts unfold. While


"Wall Street as a Legal Film"

For over two decades Oliver Stone’s classic “Wall Street” has been a beacon calling young, energetic men and women to careers on Wall Street.  Since its 1987 premier slicked back hair, suspenders, and contrast-collar shirts became the banker’s fashion staples and a “greed, for lack of a better word, is good” attitude their mantra. “Wall Street” focuses on economic boom times in New York City and America, illustrating a career in finance as the gateway to a glamorous life where money, women, and prime real estate are there for the taking and consequences are minimal. “Wall Street” primarily focuses on corruption in the financial industry.  The story follows Bud Fox, a junior stockbroker eager to claw his way to the top of the financial world.  After presenting insider information about Bluestar Airlines, company that employs his father, Fox is taken under the wing of ruthless corporate raiser Gordon Gekko.  Gekko


…And Justice for All – A Movie Review

There’s certainly something funny going on in Norman Jewison’s film “…And Justice for All.” It is no doubt strange, as the film’s story revolves around a colorful cast of characters including a suicidal judge, a deeply depressed attorney, a cross dressing mugger, and a young hippy experiencing the worst year ever. But perhaps what viewers will find funny is that there is something disturbingly true about this black comedy courtroom drama, starring Al Pacino as a defiant defense attorney struggling to make the most out of an immoral and woefully ignorant legal system. Based in Baltimore, Maryland during the late 1970’s, the film follows Pacino’s character, Arthur Kirkland, a man who relentlessly pursues justice, even to his own professional detriment. Openly critical of his profession and the individuals and factions found therein, Kirkland shines as the moral attorney of this tale.  Through his eyes, the audience comes to understand his


The Firm: What is the Cost of a Good Deal?

I don’t know whether The Firm is one of the best legal movies of all time, but I do think that it speaks to a situation that is all too familiar to some law students and graduates who have encountered the phenomenon of the big firm. In The Firm, Tom Cruise, as a recent Harvard Law graduate, is given an offer that seems too good to be true: in exchange for working as a lawyer at a firm, Cruise gets a lot of money, a house, a car, and a Memphis-style barbecue thrown in his honor (frankly, the ribs did look really good). But, huzzah! There is a catch. Somewhere down the line, he realizes why he is getting paid so much (he has to represent the mafia). One of the most interesting parts of the movie for me occurs after Cruise returns home to his wife with his offer letter from the law firm


50th Anniversary of Eichmann’s Trial, Case Still Brands Israel

The early 1960s was more than simply the revelry of TV’s “Mad Men.” It was also a time when international justice held court, and a certifiable madman found himself at the center of the world’s judgment. In 1961, a young American president read James Bond novels, while high-stakes espionage dominated popular culture and fed global anxieties. Neighbors suspected one another of being double agents. Meanwhile, down in Argentina, Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi with the most Jewish blood on his hands, was one of those neighbors leading a double life. One day, while living in a suburb of Buenos Aires under an alias, Eichmann was spirited away from his street, drugged and dressed up as an El Al flight attendant and smuggled to Israel to stand trial. Suddenly, the CIA and the KGB had competition. The Mossad and Shin Bet, Israel’s secret intelligence agencies, instantly became the new rage in cloak-and-dagger.


Lessons for New Law Graduates

The Rainmaker is one of the best legal movies of all time, providing profound lessons for newly minted attorneys. Graduation for the Class of 2011 is near. Young law graduates, such as me, should enhance their legal education by viewing the story of young Rudy Baylor (played by Matt Damon), a jobless graduate of a Tennessee law school who beat the odds, winning a $50 million judgment against a corrupt insurance company in his first trial. The lesson is not how to become rich or famous. Rudy Baylor’s story demonstrates that a young attorney who encounters early success does not have to sell-out and spend the rest of his or her career pursuing money and fame. Baylor’s story is familiar. He pursued his law degree after reading cases from the civil rights era and dreaming of making a significant difference in the world. Baylor is an idealist, a dreamer. Upon


Be a Good Little Widow

Jill Eikenberry, an American actress best known as the lawyer Ann Kelsey in L.A. Law, will star in Bekah Brunstetter’s Be a Good Little Widow, which will be performed at Ars Nova.  Previews run from April 20 through May 1, 2011.  The opening is scheduled for May 2, 2011, and the show will run through May 14, 2011.  Ms. Eikenberry plays Hope, a seasoned mourner and mother-in-law to Melody, a young wife turned widow.   As Melody, played by Wrenn Schmidt, confronts the difficult “mourning” terrain, Hope guides her through, using her experience in mourning to shepherd the younger woman. Ars Nova describes the show in the following manner: “Melody thought being a young wife was hard, until she became a widow. Luckily her mother-in-law, Hope, is a professional ? mourner, that is. Navigating the prickly terrain of pressed black dresses, well-intended advice and inappropriate outbursts, Melody stumbles toward understanding what


"The Practice", reality or far away from the true…

Bobby Donnell (played by Dylan McDermott) and his team of lawyers representing an unusual defense lawyers which constantly straggle with ethical and moral themes while defending murderers, rapists etc. The twist is that they almost always win the cases and this is a surrealistic representation of reality. The author of the TV series is well aware of this conflict, giving his characters to face the cold, cynical emotionless court room as it is in reality. While Bobby Donnell and his team try to bring into court moral arguments and emotional point of view, against them standing Helen from the D.A.’s office; cold, strong woman who is emotionally detached from the defendant side of the story. What makes the series interesting is that the viewers fall in the charm of the defense almost forgetting that they actually represent the “Bad guy” in the story. Humans apparently are moral and ethical creatures. But


The Lincoln Lawyer: Law as Art and Law in Art

The law itself can be a character in a film that plays as important a role as the star himself. The law can be context, protagonist or, sometimes, villain. In The Lincoln Lawyer it features as all three. It is the backdrop in which the plot occurs. It is also its own subject that the film explores and showcases.The film depicts the seedier side of the criminal justice system and its roleas a mechanism of justice. These different aspects of the law make it a compelling genre for artists to explore and utilize. As we have seen throughout this semester, the legal system as manipulated by its practitioners in real life is less than perfect. Frank Galvin is such a character. Like the Lincoln Lawyer, he is jaded and mercenary. The Rules of Professional Responsibility are meant to be broken; particularly when doing so is financially advantageous to him. The