The Chamber | Chicago Reader

The Chamber

Another John Grisham adaptation (1996). this one written by William Goldman and Chris Reese and directed by the often interesting James Foley. This time, alas, Foley hits a substantial roadblock—material so bereft of plot and insight that all it can provide is actorly turns with no cogent means for tying them together. Chris O'Donnell plays a lawyer who's trying to get a stay of execution for his grandfather (Gene Hackman), a convicted racist killer. The best turns come from Faye Dunaway as O'Donnell's alcoholic aunt and Millie Perkins in a smaller part as the widow whose husband and twin boys were killed by Hackman's bomb; Hackman does the best he can with a character that seems to be constructed out of loose ends. I spent a lot of time waiting in vain for a revelation that would justify the movie's slow buildup. With Lela Rochon, Robert Prosky, Raymond Barry, David Marshall Grant, Bo Jackson, and Josef Sommer.

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