The Chamber (1996)

logoDirector: James Foley

Writer: William Goldman, Chris Reese (Screenplay) John Grisham (Novel)

Starring: Chris O’Donnell, Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Robert Prosky, Raymond Berry, Bo Jackson, Lela Rochon, David Marshall Grant


Plot: Having survived the hatred and bigotry that was his Klansman grandfather’s only legacy, young attorney Adam Hall (O’Donnell) seeks at the last minute to appeak the old man’s death sentence for the murder of two small Jewish boys 30 years before. Only four weeks before Sam Cayhall (Hackman) is to be executed, Adam meets his grandfather for the first time in the Mississippi prison which has held him since the crime. The meeting is predictably tense when the educated, young Mr. Hall confronts his venom-spewing elder, Mr Cayhall about the murders. The next day, headlines run proclaiming Adam the grandson who has come to the state to save his grandfather, the infamous Ku Klux Klan bomber. While the old man’s life lies in the balance, Adam’s motivation in fighting this battle becomes clear as the story unfolds. Not only does he fight for his grandfather, but perhaps for himself as well. He has come to heal the wound of his own father’s suicide, to mitigate the secret shame he has always help for the genetic fluke which made this man his grandfather and to bring closure, one way or another, to the suffering the old man seems to have brought to everyone he has ever known. But would mercy soften his grandfather’s heart?


Verdict: Race against time


Story:  A campaign to prove the innocence of a man on death row but not just any man a family member. Watching the youngest member of the family doing everything in his power to restore his family’s name. Like John Grisham’s books we get a very determined young lawyer who wants to win a case deemed too difficult. Watching everything unfold we get to see the corruption behind capital punishment and how it is handled, we also get to see that people will change if they have been bought up to learn the wrong ways. (8/10)


Actor Reviews


Chris O’Donnell: Adam Hall the young lawyer trying to prove his grandfather is not responsible for the deaths of two young children, he has to prove everyone wrong about his abilities and go into investigator mode. Good from Chris showing that in the 90s he was a great choice for a lead in a film. (9/10)


Gene Hackman: Sam the racist grandfather who was involved in a murder but was taking the blame for it, he was bought up to be part of the Ku Klux Klan. Good from Hackman showing he can play a full range of characters. (8/10)


Faye Dunaway: Lee Cayhall, Sam’s daughter who wants nothing to do with him after what he had done, but always lives in horror of what she saw him do as a child. Good supporting role not giving too much during each scene. (7/10)


Director Review: James Foley – Good direction to create a thriller which will keep your attention from start to finish. (8/10)


Thriller: Good thriller that keeps your attention from start to finish. (9/10)

Settings: The jail makes a good setting showing the cage Sam has left himself in but most of the other scenes are not affected by the setting. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the thriller fans out there, Grisham fans will enjoy, but don’t expect any action. (Thriller Fans)


Best Part: Sam and Adam final moments.

Worst Part: The real answer is only suggested.

Believability: People will protect the groups they are in. (3/10)

Chances of Tears: (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $22,540,359

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

Tagline: Time is running out.

Trivia:This is John Grisham’s lest favourite film adaptation.


Overall: Strong Thriller

Rating 77

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