The Pelican Brief

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Released 1993

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Movie Summary

Director:
Alan J. Pakula
Released:
1993
Rating:
PG-13
The Pelican Brief, based upon the John Grisham novel of the same name, is a legal crime thriller starring Hollywood heavyweights Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington. The story revolves around Darby Shaw, a law student at Tulane University who becomes entangled in a high-stakes game of life and death. After the assassination of two Supreme Court judges, the FBI is stuck with two bodies, yet zero suspects. Upon looking at the voting history of the judges, Darby thinks she discovers a pattern in their rulings – both seem to favor the environment over big business. Darby decides to write her theories into a paper that begins to get passed around campus and beyond. Through her paper, Darby makes herself a target for the assassins, and is forced to run for her life. Darby manages to come into contact with Gray Grantham, a reporter for The Washington Herald, and the two put in place a plan to discover the party responsible for the assassinations and bring them to justice.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Variety Brian Lowry

    Tilling some of the same conspiracy turf he explored in "All the President's Men," Pakula has improved on Grisham's book by excising much of the detritus, crafting a taut, intellig...

  • 75

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    By casting attractive stars in the leads, by finding the right visual look, by underlining the action with brooding, ominously sad music, a good director can create the illusion of...

  • 70

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    The story, neatly compressed, unfolds in dependable and photogenic ways. And it is coaxed along by Mr. Pakula's considerable skills as a brisk, methodical film maker.

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