The Chamber

Bomb Rating: 

Okay, I've about had it watching death row inmates sitting withtheir lawyers in the final minutes before they're about to be killed, suddenly realizing that they'd prefer to go sniff daisies and roll around in wet grass. First it was Sean Penn, then Sharon Stone, and now Gene Hackman, who plays Sam Cayhall, racist grandfather of lawyer Adam Hall (Chris O'Donnell).

To tell you the truth, I'm also sick of the bleeding hearts sitting next to them, falling in love with the goodness that emerges from their clients at the last second and reviling the system for its cruelty. What the hell does Chris O'Donnell know about life, anyway? Has he even gone through puberty yet? Put him and Rob Morrow in a boxing ring and you could advertise it as "The Biggest Wussy Fight of the Century." Rob and Chris ought to restrict their lessons on life to slapping and picking good hair gel.

If you're not already one of the billion people who have read "The Chamber," then you might be unaware that this is another John Grisham adaptation. Not surprisingly, the story takes place in another alternate universe where noble lawyers are more common than cockroaches, although in this case, it's difficult to figure out why Adam keeps pursuing his grandfather's stay of execution with such vigor. I'd bet that some firm partner told him a death penalty case would look good on his resumé.

Director James ("Fear") Foley makes a major error in not portraying Gene Hackman's character as a despicable enough person. Okay, sure, he spouts racial slurs, but you always have the sense that the Gene Hackman from "Get Shorty" is just waiting to get out. This slow, sad, classical music all these directors seem determined to play has got to go. Maybe Foley could try "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang as old Sam is getting the gas. At least it would be an original spin.

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