The Client (1994 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joel Schumacher|
|Produced by||Arnon Milchan
|Screenplay by||Akiva Goldsman
|Based on||The Client
by John Grisham
Tommy Lee Jones
|Music by||Howard Shore|
|Editing by||Robert Brown|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||119 minutes|
|Budget||$45 million|
The Client is a 1994 American legal thriller film directed by Joel Schumacher, and starring Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, and Brad Renfro. It is based on the novel of the same name by John Grisham. The film was released in the United States on July 20, 1994.
Mark Sway and his little brother, Ricky, are sneaking cigarettes in the forest near their home when they witness the suicide of Mob lawyer Jerome Clifford. Prior to his suicide, Clifford reveals to Mark that he is killing himself to avoid being murdered by Barry "The Blade" Muldanno, the nephew of notorious mob kingpin "Uncle Johnny" Sulari. As a result of witnessing the suicide, Ricky goes into shock and is hospitalized. It soon becomes apparent to authorities - and the Mob - that Clifford may have revealed to Mark the location of the body of a Louisiana senator believed to have been murdered by Muldanno.
Mark seeks out a lawyer and finds Regina "Reggie" Love, a recovering alcoholic, who agrees to defend him in court. They quickly run afoul of Roy Foltrigg, a celebrated and vain US Attorney who is attempting to solve the case as a springboard to greater ambitions. In the meantime, it is revealed that Sulari never authorized Muldanno to make the hit on the senator and is requiring Muldanno to try and figure out how much the kids may know about the location of the body. Muldanno is also required to move the body, but isn't immediately able to because he had buried it in Clifford's boathouse, and the cops are still on the property investigating his suicide.
As all parties become increasingly desperate, Foltrigg tries to go to continued legal lengths to determine the location of the body through Mark's testimony, while Sulari eventually orders Muldanno to kill the children and their lawyer to avoid any further screw-ups in trying to deal with the case. He also orders the body moved once the investigation at Clifford's home is over.
Mark and Reggie go to New Orleans to confirm that the body is still where he was told it is, knowing that it is their only bargaining chip to get Ricky the help he needs, and to place the family in protective custody. They arrive the same night as Muldanno and his fellow Mafia goons, who begin digging up the body but who are stopped by Mark and Reggie. In the melee that follows, the goons flee when the neighbor's alarm is tripped and the authorities are summoned.
Knowing that the body is there, Reggie is able to use the information as a bargaining chip to get the family the full slate of protective custody and medical help for Ricky, as well as a new home and job for the children's mother. Mark and Reggie share a heartfelt goodbye--both of them admit to loving one another. Although not explicitly stated, it becomes apparent that Sulari has had enough of Muldanno and is going to have his nephew killed. With the body recovered, Foltrigg is a lock-in for the newspaper headlines he craves, and makes mention that he intends to run for governor.
- Susan Sarandon as Regina "Reggie" Love
- Tommy Lee Jones as "Reverend" Roy Foltrigg
- Brad Renfro as Mark Sway
- Mary-Louise Parker as Dianne Sway
- David Speck as Ricky Sway
- Anthony LaPaglia as Barry "The Blade" Muldanno
- J. T. Walsh as Jason McThune
- Anthony Heald as Larry Trumann
- Bradley Whitford as Thomas Fink
- Anthony Edwards as Clint Von Hooser
- Micole Mercurio as Momma Love
- Ossie Davis as Judge Harry Roosevelt
- Will Patton as Sergeant Hardy
- Dan Castellaneta as Slick Moeller
- Ron Dean as Uncle Johnny Sulari
- Kim Coates as Paul Gronke
- William H. Macy as Dr. Greenway
- Kimberly Scott as Doreen
- Walter Olkewicz as Jerome "Romey" Clifford
The film was a financial success, earning $92,115,211 at the North American domestic box office and an additional $25,500,000 internationally, for a worldwide total of $117,615,211.
Roger Ebert gave the film a score of 2.5 out of 4.
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