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The Pelican Brief

Rating:PG-13
Genre:Suspense/Thriller
Release Date:January 1, 1998
Running time:141 minutes
Cast:Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard, John Heard, Tony Goldwyn
Director:Alan J. Pakula
Writer:Alan J. Pakula

Description: Embroiled in an affair with Thomas Callahan (Sam Shephard), her alcoholic professor, precocious 24-year-old Tulane University law student Darby Shaw (Julia Roberts) writes up an insightful theory about the recent murder of two Supreme Court justices, one of whom, Abraham Rosenberg (Hume Cronyn), served as Callahan's mentor. When Callahan shares this so-called Pelican Brief with buddy Gavin Verheek (John Heard), an FBI lawyer, the document makes its way to White House flack Fletcher Coal (Tony Goldwyn), who believes it could topple the current administration. When Callahan is murdered and the President (Robert Culp) convinces the FBI to hold off on investigating Darby's theory, the resourceful student must go into hiding, stalked by relentless assassin Khamel (Stanley Tucci). Her only hope of escaping Callahan's fate and proving her theory lies in Washington investigative reporter Gray Grantham (Denzel Washington), who's already had one confidential source back out of sharing information about the assassinations. This John Grisham adaptation is fairly faithful to the best-selling novel, but the book's interracial romance between Shaw and Grantham was left out of the script (or at least the finished product), leaving many progressive viewers annoyed at Hollywood's conservatism. Fans of HBO's Sex and the City will notice one of its future stars, Cynthia Nixon, in a small role as one of Darby's New Orleans classmates.~ Brian J. Dillard, All Movie Guide

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