A Civil Action (1998)

a civil action“The odds of a plaintiff’s lawyer winning in civil court are two to one against. Think about that for a second. Your odds of surviving a game of Russian roulette are better than winning a case at trial. 12 times better. So why does anyone do it? They don’t. They settle. Out of the 780,000, only 12,000 or 11/2 percent ever reach a verdict. The whole idea of lawsuits is to settle, to compel the other side to settle. And you do that by spending more money than you should, which forces them to spend more money than they should, and whoever comes to their senses first loses. Trials are a corruption of the entire process and only fools who have something to prove end up ensnared in them. Now when I say prove, I don’t mean about the case, I mean about themselves. ” – Jan Schlichtmann

Number of Times Seen – 2 (1998 in theater and 20 Oct 2014)

Brief Synopsis – A personal injury lawyer takes on the case of a community plagued by mysterious medical problems to assist in their legal fight against a big corporation believed to be tainting the local water supply. Based on a true story.

My Take on it – A recent legal themed quiz by fellow Blogger Alex Raphael reminded me that it’s been quite a long time since I saw this movie, so I decoded to revisit it.

Tnx AR!

This movie tells a very interesting true to life story and keeps the viewer interested for most of its running time.

Unfortunately, it loses its way towards the end and instead of the inspirational David vs. Goliath story that we want to see, we get a pretty boring legalese 4th quarter.

This movie has been compared to Erin Brockovich (2001) because of the similar themes and I think EB is slightly better because it’s told from the perspective of the victims instead of the lawyers.

I’ll have to rewatch that soon to verify that memory. 😀

The movie is packed with an amazing cast but eventhough it’s totally a John Travolta vehicle, the major standout is Robert Duvall who was even nominated for an Oscar for his role.

Bottom Line – Very good legal drama that loses most of its steam towards the end. It’s presented as a David vs. Goliath legal battle but isn’t as inspiring as one would expect. Great cast with Duvall as a definite stand out. Recommended!

Rating – Globe Worthy


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9 thoughts on “A Civil Action (1998)

  1. Pingback: Movies Reviewed Index A-Z |

  2. I have been meaning to watch this for ages. I read the book and when I saw that it was pulled over to a film, I was excited to see what they did. I will need to get to it, because I really liked the book, though it certainly won’t be the average person’s cup of tea. Great work Rob!


  3. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1998 |

  4. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actor – Oscars 1998 |

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