Pelican Brief
  • Pelican Brief
  • Pelican Brief

Pelican Brief

3.9 12
Director: Alan J. Pakula

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… See more details below

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.

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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:
11/03/2009
UPC:
0883929091263
Original Release:
1993
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
2:21:00
Sales rank:
2,511

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Scene Index

Disc #1, Side A -- Pelican Brief
1. Credits [2:30]
2. Rosenberg's View [1:47]
3. Rendezvous in Shadows [3:27]
4. Rights and Rites of Privacy [2:00]
5. Death Strikes Twice [3:53]
6. Rally 'Round the Leader Time [2:43]
7. What to Look For [3:38]
8. A Girlfriend with a Theory [6:21]
9. Grantham's Source [3:16]
10. Coal's Source [3:36]
11. Taking Callahan's Breath Away [3:08]
12. Alone in Crowds [4:54]
13. Discussing Dog Tricks [1:53]
14. On the Run [2:15]
15. "Her Little Brief..." [2:09]
16. "Garcia" and "Alice" Call [3:17]
17. The Saddest Girl in the Quarter [4:28]
18. Khamel's New Assignment [1:47]
19. Out of the Closet [4:27]
20. Holding Hands with Death [4:03]
21. Grantham Takes His Chances [4:05]
22. Comparing Notes in the Back Seat [1:14]
23. One Piece of Common Ground [6:33]
Disc #1, Side B -- Pelican Brief
1. Reaching Deep and High [3:31]
2. Suppositions Worth Exploring [2:33]
3. Joint Research [3:10]
4. Briefing the President [2:39]
5. George and Martha's Place [2:03]
6. Burgled and Shadowed [2:26]
7. Detective Work [3:05]
8. Linney Hallucinates [3:32]
9. A Missed Appointment [3:09]
10. "I Want You to Reach 25" [1:47]
11. A Secret Key [4:28]
12. Stalkers at the Bank [4:58]
13. Parking Garage Assassins [5:04]
14. Dead Man's Legacy [2:55]
15. A Breaking Story [2:10]
16. A Deal with the FBI [5:41]
17. Flight by Night [3:45]
18. Who Is Darby Shaw? [2:06]
19. End Credits [4:18]

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