These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
He Really Can Act: Matthew McConaughey shows remarkable depth and assurance as Jake Brigante and effortlessly holds his own against a cast of veterans. His mature Career Resurrection 15 years later, capped with an Best Actor Oscar, showed that this was no fluke.
Nightmare Fuel: The rape of 10-year-old Tonya Hailey. Even though we don't see all that much, what we are shown and told is horrifying enough. Even worse, it's all toned down from its counterpart in the book.
One-Scene Wonder: Chris Cooper as the deputy who lost his leg in the attack, but holds no ill will and calls Carl Lee a hero.
Strawman Has a Point: Intentional, as it adds to the film's depth. The prosecution maintains that it is never excusable to take justice into one's own hands, regardless of circumstances.
Values Dissonance: This film sparked controversy in many European countries regarding the death penalty and the right of self-defense. The nation where the most cries of outrage came from were from France. French critics accused it of being "nauseating", "stinking", and in the most extreme cases claimed it promoted fascism, the last of which is ironic considering that the film won an award from the NAACP. note specifically for Samuel L. Jackson won the NAACP Image award for Best Supporting Actor in a film.