Wrong Arm of The Law

TITLE: THE FIRM

DIRECTOR: SYDNEY POLLACK

WRITERS: DAVID RABE, ROBERT TOWNE, DAVID RAYFIEL

THE BOTTOM LINE: Tom Cruise heads a tony cast in a best-seller movie that is firm at the start and infirm by the end.

Adapting a best seller for the movies is like carving flesh down to bone. You keep the skeleton, then apply rouge and silicone until the creature looks human. Any screenwriter adapting the 500-page novel The Firm, John Grisham's tort thriller about tax attorneys fronting for the Mafia, would try to streamline the story, infuse action into a narrative that is mostly lawyers chatting, give...

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