A FEW GOOD MEN, 1992
A decorated marine is investigated for illegal activity at Guantanomo Bay.
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Starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, and Kevin Bacon, this epic film examines the fine line between right and wrong. With the majority of the movie set in a courtroom, this film could be classified as a courtroom drama much like the classic film To Kill A Mockingbird, starring Gregory Peck. However, this film is much more than a courtroom drama. It is a classic military film and a classic struggle of right versus wrong, and how those two sides can be muddled together at times. By enthralling all these aspects, this film plays on your heart strings and lives up to its billing.
The event setting this epic battle into motion is the death of a marine at Guantanomo Bay. However, his death is untimely, and definitely not unintentional. Something truly stinks about the situation, and this is where Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) and his team of lawyers, Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore), and Lt. Sam Weinberg (Kevin Pollak) are called into defend the two men at the forefront of the investigation are Pfc. Louden Downey (James Marshall) and Lance Cpl. Harold W. Dawson (Wolfgang Bodison). It becomes quite obvious that Private Santiago died at the hands of these two men, who were also stationed at Guantanomo Bay. However, the question is why did these two men execute a Code Red against Santiago. Were they ordered, or did they act upon their own merit. Kaffee, being the diligent and tough lawyer he is, knows there is more to the picture than meets the eye, and he sets out on a mission to find the truth and prove his clients' innoncence.
Using his instincts and help from his team of lawyers, Kaffee knows Colonel Nathan R. Jessep (Jack Nicholson), the man in charge of Guantanomo Bay, has information vital to the case. Therefore, Kaffee decides to pay Jessep a visit at Guantanomo. After a brief tour of the facilities, and a nice breakfast, Kaffee begins questioning Jessep. Jessep, being the stoic and hardened figure he is, is reluctant to give any viable answers and denies any wrong doing on the part of his staff or himself. Kaffee backs off, knowing he will not get any more answers out of Jessep at this time.
However, he knows Jessep is the person he must break down to break the case, and embarks on a journey to do just that. Unfortunately for Kafee, pursuing a case against Jessep is not only dangerous, but could prove lethal for his career as a lawyer. Jessep is a decorated marine, who is highly respected and praised by the military community. Jessep has served his country, protected his country, and provided for his country. In many ways, Jessep is untouchable, and Kaffee and Jessep are both fully aware of this. Kaffee, on the other hand, is an ambitious, young lawyer, but lacks the strong credentials Jessep holds. He knows it is a risky journey, but as a lawyer, he also knows he must represent his clients to the fullest of his abilities and continue to seek truth at all cost. Kaffee realizes he is David, and Jessep is Goliath, but he hopes as in the Bible, David will prove victorious.
A Few Good Men has it all. From the stellar cast that includes, Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, Noah Wiley, and Kevin Pollak to the memorable court scenes, this movie enthralls the viewer from the opening scene to the end credits. The acting is brilliant. Cruise and Nicholson paired against each other was not only brilliant, but proved to be one for the ages. As a viewer, you can feel the anger, the passion, and the true disdain Jessep and Kaffee have for each other. As they battle out the case in court, I find myself routing for Kaffee, but you can understand Jessep's point of view too. Evil and grotesque as he might be, he provides safety for the country we live in. Kaffee while seeking the truth and trying dispose of Jessep, could be putting our country at greater risk. This is the dilemma you face as a viewer. On the surface, you know Jessep is wrong, and you know Kaffee is right.
As one digs deeper though, you find so many different avenues and paths, you find yourself confused and lost at times. You feel the wear and tear the battle is taking on Kaffee, and you, like him, find yourself willing to simply give in to the greater beast. And then again, you dig deep just as Kaffee for that final push to defeat the mighty warrior, yet secretly hoping they'll find a suitable replacement capable of protecting this country as Jessep has done. You find yourself routing for the two defendants even though they were directly responsible for the death of a fellow soldier. You realize that right and wrong is not always black and white, and more often than not, it is a solid shade of gray.
A Few Good Men makes you dig deep in your soul and give yourself a gut check. Kaffee is truly a man of character, a gutsy warrior willing to take on the toughest opponent. He proves that it is not always the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that matters more. A Few Good Men is one for the ages, and I believe that anyone who has seen this film, would tend to agree.
A FEW GOOD MEN