A Few Good Men (1992) Movie Review
By: Josh Zerbini
(Clarks Green, PA)
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Aaron Sorkin (play & screenplay)
Tom Cruise - Lt. Daniel Kaffee
Jack Nicholson - Col. Nathan R. Jessup
Demi Moore - Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway
Kevin Bacon - Capt. Jack Ross
Kiefer Sutherland - Lt. Jonathan Kendrick
Kevin Pollak - Lt. Sam Weinberg
James Marshall - Pfc. Louden Downey
J.T. Walsh - Lt. Col. Matthew Andrew Markinson
Christopher Guest - Dr. Stone
J.A. Preston - Judge Julius Alexander Randolph
Matt Craven - Lt. Dave Spradling
Wolfgang Bodison - Lance Cpl. Harold W. Dawson
Xander Berkeley - Capt. Whitaker
John M. Jackson - Capt. West
Noah Wyle - Cpl. Jeffrey Barnes
Cuba Gooding Jr. - Cpl. Carl Hammaker
In a sick and disparaging world, we can but only hope to discover the truth so cleverly concealed by deception. We desperately attempt to accomplish this feat, simply because we believe that in doing so, we will somehow be set free. But is this really the case? Is the apprehension of knowledge always the coveted alternative. The movie I will be writing about today explicitly communicates this message.
I will be critiquing "A Few Good Men", a rare jewel in the courtroom drama genre. "A Few Good Men" was released in the early winter of 1992, directed by Rob Reiner and written by Aaron Sorkin(who also wrote "The Social Network" and "Moneyball"). This movie is centered on two marines who have been accused of murdering a colleague. It has been arranged for Kaffee(Tom Cruise) to be their attorney. Kaffee is portrayed as a lazy and cocky, but well-educated young navy lawyer who is known for being able to set up plea bargains. However, he discovers evidence that these two marines(James Marshall and Wolfgang Bodison) may actually be innocent, so he decides rather to take it to court.
This movie is amazing for several reasons. First let's look at the main actors. We have Tom Cruise (Kaffee), Demi Moore (JoAnne Galloway), Kevin Bacon (Cpt. Jack Ross), Kiefer Sutherland (Lt. Jonathan Kendrick), Kevin Pollack (Lt. Sam Weinberg) and of course Jack Nicholson (Col. Nathan Jessup). Need I go any further critiquing? Did you see the last name I mentioned......Jack Nicholson?? If any of you out there are Nicholson fans, you will not be disappointed by watching this movie. Now needless to say, Nicholson is not, by any means, the only reason to watch this movie. He certainly does not steal the film, meaning he does not separate himself from the other actors and what is going on. Rather, he in only an insignificant number of scenes, seems to suffuse, or permeate the production with authority.
Another reason this movie is excellent is because it pleads the viewer to ask a serious question. Is knowledge always the coveted alternative? This movie will definitely cause you to think hard and long on this question, even after the credits roll. I love intellectual movies like this one. If you are the same, then this movie is a must see!
Since I am fair and impartial, I will share with you a reason why some people do not like this film. The reason is that, this movie is one of those movies which "tells you what it's going to do, does it, and then tells you what it did." Now this is for sure a good reason to not like a movie. However, I personally do not think this causes the movie to lose any flavor, or vitality. I am simply telling you how some others view it; but you must see this movie for yourself. It does not detriment the film whatsoever, in my opinion.
From time to time, I will be sharing a rather lengthy quotation from a movie, because I feel that it may generate a desire in some of the reluctant ones out there. Those, who are not sure whether they should give a certain movie a venture. This time is one of those times. Before reading on I want to inform you that this quote does contain some mild language. So I would like to apologize for any of those out there that may be offended upon reading it.
"Jessep (Jack Nicholson): You want answers?
Kaffee (Tom Cruise): I think I'm entitled to them.
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!"
This quotation is towards the climax of the movie, and I will not share any further information, as to avoid ruining the movie for those who have not yet had the opportunity to watch it. This excerpt rewards you with a glimpse into the amazing character Jack Nicholson so brilliantly portrayed in this movie.
As I conclude this article I would like to again go back to the question I posed in the beginning of this article. Is the apprehension of knowledge always the coveted alternative? Well, that is for now; until next time. I hope you have enjoyed this article on one of my favorite courtroom dramas! Please share your thoughts on this movie. I would love to hear from you!