, Research Paper
A Time To Kill
A courtroom drama, full of conversation and debate, can achieve gripping effects and touch the heart of the audiences. Each and every character grabs a hold of the law and throttles it. Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) helps Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) to defend his accusation of murder towards two white guys who had raped and attempted to kill Carl’s little daughter Stacey aged 10 at the beginning of the film. The difference of races has brought lots of arguments and fights between the oppositions. The film reflects what is really happening in the real world. It reminds people of the prejudice and the unfairness of treatment between the black and the white, of different races in our world.
The film is set in the town of Canton, Mississippi. The movie begins with the cruel rape and attempted murder of a ten-year old girl. Her attackers are quickly found but, just before they are brought to trial, the girl’s father guns them down and is himself put on trial for murder and attempted murder of a one-deputy. A simple story of revenge – except that this is the South, the murdered men are white, and the girl and her father are black. Thus begins a tale that might have been an examination of vigilantism, and might have been a story about the possibility of equal justice under the law for.
Carl Lee, the father of the violated girl, has planned revenge knowing that the boys will get off for being white, has told his defender Jake of his vengeance. As an officer of the court, Brigance might be expected to counsel Carl Lee about the inadvisability of such an act, and/or to warn the police of Carl Lee’s intention. Brigance does nothing of the sort, he just goes back to doing what he does best – which is nothing. When Carl Lee follows through, Brigance decides to defend him thinking he can become a big shot lawyer, despite the sentiments of everyone in the predominantly white town – his own family included.
Jake is a guy who thinks he’s a good man, but in actual fact he is just the same as any other white person. That’s why Carl Lee picks him, because he thinks the same way white people do. Matthew McConaughey looks young, and he looks inexperienced to be a barrister. He suits the character a lot.
Ellen Roark (Sandra Bullock), a law-student that attempts to rescue Jake from his incompetence but at the same time tries to get close to him. A vivid, active and optimistic girl is characterised by Sandra Bullock’s outlook. She looks very happy and very hopeful all the time.
Samuel L. Jackson’s strong performance almost makes this a story about prejudice, but he’s been dealt the race card from the bottom of a deck. By the end of A Time to Kill there also has been a time for arson, assault, attempted murder, excessive force, perjury, burglary, kidnapping, and driving under the influence – all of it justified by somebody in the furtherance of their personal concept of Justice.
The irony of this movie is that if he wins the case Justice will prevail, but if he loses, justice will also prevail. Jake knows he cannot receive a fair trial as long as the eyes of the law are human eyes.
The closing summation is very touching and important to the main theme of the film, delivered by Matthew McConaughey.
Lots of close-ups in the film effectively used by the Akiva Goldsman, the screenplay person. They are used mostly between conversations and they also show how people react to their debates or conversation. It increases tension and brings the audience closer to the film. The character’s suitability of the film, the effectiveness of the camera shots and the organised editing all contribute to the effectiveness of achieving the main idea of the film.