(director/writer: Maggie Betts; screenwriters: Doug Wright, based on a New Yorker article by Jonathan Harr; cinematographer: Maryse Albert; editors: Lee Percy, Jay Cassidy; music: Michael Abels; cast: Tommy Lee Jones (Jeremiah O’Keefe), Jamie Foxx (Willie Gary), Jurnee Smollett (Mame Downes), Mamoudou Athie (Hal Dockins), Pamela Reed (Annette O’Keefe), Bill Camp (Ray Loewe), Alan Ruck (Mike Allred); Runtime: 126; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, Jamie Foxx, Datari Turner, Jenette Kahn, Adam Richman, Bobby Shriver; Amazon Studios; 2023)
“Dazzling performances by Jones and Foxx.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The true story is directed by Maggie Betts (“Novitiate”/”The Carrier”) and co-written by Tony and Pulitzer winner Doug Wright. It’s lifted from a 1999 article in the November issue of The New Yorker by Jonathan Harr.
The highly entertaining legal courtroom Goliath vs. David drama is set in the Deep South.
Jeremiah O’Keefe (Tommy Lee Jones), owner of a funeral home, at the request of a young Black lawyer, Hal Dockins (Mamoudou Athie), meets in the mid-1990s with the wealthy, smooth-talking, hotshot personal injury attorney Willie Gary (Jamie Foxx), and convinces him to act for him as a plaintiff on a civil law suit case in a small Mississippi town. Gary will lawyer up for the small-time Southern funeral home owner against an unethical Canadian billionaire, Loewe (Bill Camp), after O’Keefe was ripped off on a crooked deal by Loewe. When Gary becomes the lead counsel, the legal team demand the outrageous sum of a $199 million. The odious Loewe counters by hiring a young Ivy League attorney Mame Downes (Jurnee Smollett) to fight them.
Alan Ruck plays Jones’s downtrodden longtime lawyer who makes way for Foxx.
It’s a good watch because of dazzling performances by Jones and Foxx, and that it’s a crowd-pleasing drama with a hissable villain.
It played at the Toronto Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 9/18/2023 GRADE: B