Film: Runaway Jury

Finch: You think your average juror is King Solomon? No! He's a roofer with a mortgage. He wants to go home and sit in his Barcalounger and let the cable TV wash over him. And this man doesn't give a single, solitary droplet of shit about truth, justice or your American way.
Rohr: They're people, Fitch.
Finch: My point, exactly.

Runaway Jury is a 2003 film adaptation of the John Grisham novel The Runaway Jury. It starred John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Gene Hackman, and Dustin Hoffman.

This work provides examples of:

  • The Artifact: In the original novel the Lawsuit of the Week had the plaintiff suing a tobacco company for her husband's death from smoking-related illness. The movie retains a number of references to the pros and cons of smoking (e.g. The Protagonist telling a neighbor that he should quit), which are a leftover from the source material.
  • Bland-Name Product: Vicksburg Firearms. They dolled up a handgun with a 36 round magazine for the film.
  • Damsel Fight-and-Flight Response: Marlee hit the guy twice and, when he still catches her before she manages to escape, she stabbed his leg with a piece of wood.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Deconstructed down to the core with a character who is introduced as a protagonist, and than promptly killed.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Subverted with Nicholas, but played straight with Marlee. She treats Rhor with the same disdain she treats Fitch.
  • Hidden Depths: Herman Grimes was almost booted off Jury Duty because of his blindness, but once he threw his knowledge of the law in the judge's face, he was accepted. It was this event that caused the Jury to vote him as Foreman.
  • Hollywood Law: Several examples are relied on for the plot.
    • Super Lawyer: Gene Hackman. He's evil, has a command center filled with computer screens, and apparently capable of quickly breaking into encrypted files.
    • Dream Team: Dustin Hoffman and the two conspiring protagonists. In real life, it would mean serious prison time if caught (just as with Hackman's own attempted jury tampering.)
    • Deus ex Machina Lawyer: The Hero lawyer only wins because one of the Super Lawyer's employees betrays him.
  • Ironic Echo: "Well, you're only lead counsel for the defense, Mr. Cable. You shouldn't pretend to know very much about jury selection."
  • Jury and Witness Tampering: At the core of the plot are attempts to coerce or incapacitate the jurors in a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer for gross negligence leading to the plaintiff's husband's death from an office shooting.
  • Jury Duty: Subverted. The protagonist uses Obfuscating Stupidity and gives the judge all these trivial excuses not to serve as part of a Batman Gambit to make sure he is selected.
    "It was like poetry. The judge threatened to hang me."
  • Motive Decay:
    • Doyle works for the defense. He's sent to find out some information about someone on the jury. Near the climax of the movie, his boss (played by Gene Hackman) tells Doyle he needs information before the jury deliberates. Doyle blows him off and continues to investigate, which makes no sense at all. Instead of telling his employer that the jurist is using an assumed name, which would get him thrown off the jury, Doyle continues to investigate as if finding out what the juror's motivation is would be more important than winning the case.
    • The point of this is that if said juror really is neutral, they can get him to win the case for them. This is quicker and simpler than derailing the court proceedings.
  • Playing Possum: Marlee plays possum to stab a hitman's leg.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Tobacco in the book was swapped for guns in the movie.
  • Psycho for Hire: Mr. Janovich. He torches Nick's place and then assaults Marlee in her apartment.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Simple Country Lawyer: Dustin Hoffman plays this as the DA, against Gene Hackman's jury rigger character.