A Time to Kill (1996)
Despite its all-star cast and fine craftsmanship, A Time to Kill comes off as a somewhat ill-focused and disconcerting film about vigilante justice and overcooked racial issues in modern day Mississippi. And the vapid taste is probably more prominent today than it was back at the time of release, with the film's anachronisms being more apparent seen from a few years' distance. This was Matthew McConaughey's breakout role, and although he demonstrates his leading-man potential, he's also an unfinished product here, not quite able to project the films' many subtleties satisfactory (and falling semi-flat in his summation scene). But then neither is director Joel Schumacher, who most probably wanted to make a multi-layered film, but who got a little too worked up in the process; his sense of justice here is little more than bloodthirst disguised as race struggle. Somebody should have told somebody that two wrongs don't make a right. The fine acting by a number of supporting players is the film's best asset, most notably Chris Cooper, M. Emmet Walsh and the criminally underrated Doug Hutchison.