Two United States Marines are court marshaled with the accusation of murdering a fellow Marine. They deny the crime and are assigned attorney Lt. Daniel Kaffee, the young hot shot who has never once entered a courtroom. Before Kaffee even meets with his clients he already has a plea bargain in the works. Kaffe’s lack of conviction meets with his assigned co-counsel Lt. Commander Joanne Galloway’s (Demi Moore) passion for the truth. She eventually convinces Kaffee to take the case to trial. He recruits the help of his friend Lt. Sam Weinburg (Kevin Pollack) and they commence their upward battle and the result is shocking.
The two defendants claim is that PFC William Santiago was given a CODE RED by none other than Colonel Nathan Jessup.(Jack Nicholson) It becomes apparent that the military Colonel is hiding something, but his arrogance is so blatant that he actually dares Kaffee to come after him. With all odds against the trio they face a formidable prosecutor (Kevin Bacon), the cover up by military at Gitmo, the suicide of a key witness, and even the warning of the judge against bringing the one man with answers to the courtroom to be questioned.
This complex courtroom drama gives itself so many opportunities to error, but each time successfully rises above the cliches of movies of this genre. With the ridiculous star power, no one, other than Nicholson in the final climatic scene, outshines anyone. They are all equally engaging. It is one of the most brilliant ensemble casting done in movies before or since. Each actor takes their role to the limit, but all in the name of the stories integrity. With the complexity that drives each character combined with an already perplexing storyline, it’s no doubt the writer (Alan Sorkin) and directer(Rob Reiner) pulled out their best in an attempt to keep the stories vision clear and attainable to the audience.
Movies of this caliber are not often made because so many things are lost from the vision on paper to the result onscreen. A Few Good Men lost nothing and gained more, making this compelling tale of a military cover up come alive. The depth of the story and the characters mixed with a suspense that set the final climatic scene up for one of the most amazing moments ever on film. A Few Good Men is a prime example of what the right time and dedication to making a film thoroughly and true to a brilliant screenplay can result in. It still gives me goosebumps. Four out of Four stars.