MARC’S REVIEW – A Few Good Men

“A Few Good Men” really does hold up.

Anyone with even minimal movie going experience can predict how it is going to end almost as soon as it starts but that doesn’t take away from Aaron Sorkin’s first screenplay based on his original stage play.

It is well cast. For the film, no one else could ever play the intimidating and terrifying Colonel Nathan R Jessup other than Jack Nicholson. It’s not that it is just him in the role. It’s really Nicholson’s whole career legacy against the arguably still ripening careers of Demi Moore, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollack and Tom Cruise. Nicholson’s timed grandstanding is necessary for the role to work.

Cruise on the other hand left me feeling a little too overplayed. The role calls for cockiness, yes, but is Cruise too cocky? Some of the gags he does work. Some don’t, like impersonating Nicholson momentarily (leave that for the guys on SNL, Tom), or when he’s poking fun at Moore’s character to his own delight. It’s a little too much. Still, his courtroom scenes are like watching the best in live theatre. Those scenes play like great sport, notably thanks to Tom Cruise.

Major props go to JT Walsh as a conflicted witness. When I say conflicted, I mean he authenticates a seriously valid and personal dilemma beautifully. Had it not been for Jack Nicholson, Walsh might have had an Oscar nomination. A shame he didn’t come close to such recognition while he was alive. He was such a great character actor.

Recognition also goes out to Kevin Bacon as a well versed prosecutor/Marine. His timing exudes the experience his character has, despite his youthful appearance.

Demi Moore might be caught trying too hard, I think. Kevin Pollack is the wise mentor sitting quietly waiting for his great moments. Kiefer Sutherland is great in almost anything he does. He doesn’t ever steal the spotlight like Cruise, Nicholson or Moore but he makes a great presence; conniving and bold.

The direction is nothing special really. Rob Reiner does fine but honestly Sorkin’s script sells itself.

Yeah, yeah. “You can’t handle the truth.” Great line, but I got news for you. I’d argue there’s even better lines in this 1992 (undated) film. It’s worth revisiting

2 comments

  1. Hey Marc I hope you get this and read it. I was never big on military movies in general- until this film came along! A excellent military court room drama!! Made the term code red a movie meme and you can’t handle the truth as well!! Everybody was so good!! I like the dilmena cruise was in concerning Nicholson! Whether to accuse him on the stand or not! Of course he roars off on Nicholson and accuses him which forces him to admit he did indeed order a code red thus had perjured himself!! I particularly like the ending when cruise tells one of the defendants that he doesn’t need a patch to have honor! Then the fella gives him salute acknowledging his status as a officer which he wouldn’t do earlier because he thought cruise was a spineless coward! Cruise excels in these roles of the cocky, immature guy always looking for the short cuts to success but learns to grow and evolve into a complete person like he did on cocktail, top gun and Jerry Maguire!!

    Like

    • Nice comment James. I agree completely. Cruise needs to get back to acting roles like this and ween off his Mission Impossible and Top Gun flicks, a little. Thanks for always reading.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s