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Pelican Brief
     

The Pelican Brief

3.9 12
Director: Alan J. Pakula, Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard

Cast: Alan J. Pakula, Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard

 

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Embroiled in an affair with Thomas Callahan (Sam Shephard), her alcoholic professor, precocious 24-year-old Tulane University law student Darby Shaw (Julia Roberts) writes up an insightful theory about the recent murder of two Supreme Court justices, one of whom, Abraham Rosenberg (Hume Cronyn), served as Callahan's mentor. When Callahan shares this so-called "Pelican

Overview

Embroiled in an affair with Thomas Callahan (Sam Shephard), her alcoholic professor, precocious 24-year-old Tulane University law student Darby Shaw (Julia Roberts) writes up an insightful theory about the recent murder of two Supreme Court justices, one of whom, Abraham Rosenberg (Hume Cronyn), served as Callahan's mentor. When Callahan shares this so-called "Pelican Brief" with buddy Gavin Verheek (John Heard), an FBI lawyer, the document makes its way to White House flack Fletcher Coal (Tony Goldwyn), who believes it could topple the current administration. When Callahan is murdered and the President (Robert Culp) convinces the FBI to hold off on investigating Darby's theory, the resourceful student must go into hiding, stalked by relentless assassin Khamel (Stanley Tucci). Her only hope of escaping Callahan's fate and proving her theory lies in Washington investigative reporter Gray Grantham (Denzel Washington), who's already had one confidential source back out of sharing information about the assassinations. This John Grisham adaptation is generally faithful to the best-selling novel. Fans of HBO's Sex and the City will notice one of its future stars, Cynthia Nixon, in a small role as one of Darby's New Orleans classmates.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
For his penultimate film, the late thriller veteran Alan J. Pakula wrote, produced, and directed this overlong but engrossing suspense piece, which could have been 30 minutes shorter and still had time for a love scene between stars Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington. Instead, we get an emotive hug and a chaste kiss, but every other nuance and plot point is obsessed over in detail, leaving us with a cross between a police procedural and a political page-turner, replete with shadowy conspiracies within conspiracies. Washington and Roberts play to type, but turn in solid performances -- him as the virtuous, overachieving journalist, her as the toothy ingenue. Each gets at least one short, great moment -- Washington when Grantham blows a heated chase because a cabbie won't stop for an African-American in sweats, Roberts when Darby watches a loved one blow up before her very eyes. The real fun, though, lies not in watching the stars who must play it straight, but in savoring Stanley Tucci, portraying a chameleon-like assassin whose character owes more than a little to Edward Fox in Day of the Jackal, and Tony Goldwyn, playing the same shifty bastard he's been cast as, ever since his role in 1990's Ghost. Continuing the transformation from leading man to character actor that would eventually lead to his decayed, corrupt cop character on The Sopranos, John Heard turns in solid work as the FBI lawyer who tries to help Darby. Throw in John Lithgow as a testy newspaper editor and a rogue's gallery of imperious lawyers, PR vampires, and picturesque heavies, and you've got a fun, pulpy ride that takes itself just seriously enough to convince.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/10/2009
UPC:
0883929039265
Original Release:
1993
Rating:
PG-13
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
2:21:00
Sales rank:
3,878

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The Pelican Brief 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
I hadn't seem the whole thing but here and there when it was on TV. Suspenseful though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this Grisham movie and The Client. I already have The Pelican Brief on DVD and now wanted it on Blu-Ray.
conniejackson More than 1 year ago
The story is different, in fact,very different from normal storylines in most of the books out there on the market. It is refreshing and interesting because it shows how one ordinary lady, Darby Shaw, can come up with a solution that all the experts could not think of. Even after two justices are killed without a trace of evidence, she decides to uncover the killer. Then, when her brief is handed over to the FBI, the agent dies two days later in Darby's place. Once, she realizes that the killers are after her, she knows that she must stay one step ahead of them, so she doesn't stay in one place for two nights. During these chapters the book is thrilling when Darby is being chased, and each time you think this is her last day on Earth she escapes death. In my opinion, Grisham, wrote a trilling, legal mystery that will keep your interest from the first page to the last page. Enjoy, I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you don't mind getting up from your chair or bed and going to the DVD player and turning the disc over the get the other half of the movie, then you will be delighted! It's a great movie and very well acted, but this version is ruined for me by having the movie split in half.
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