The Chamber

Director:James Foley
Writers:William Goldman and Chris Reese
Director of Photography:Ian Baker
Editor:Mark Warner
Music:Carter Burwell
Production Designer:David Brisbin
Producers:John Davis, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard
Universal Pictures; R; 110 minutes
Cast:Gene Hackman, Chris O'Donnell, Faye Dunaway, Lela Rochon, Millie Perkins and Bo Jackson
Based on the novel by John Grisham

Timing is not on the side of The Chamber. Though released nearly a year after Dead Man Walking, comparisons are inevitable, and Dead Man is clearly the better of the two films. But Dead Man didn't have Hackman, who carries the film with his grizzled appearance and stoicism in the face of death. Racist Sam Cayhall (Hackman) awaits the chamber on death row when his estranged grandson, Adam Hall (O'Donnell), arrives to defend him. Cayhall, a lifelong Klansman, bombed the office of a Jewish civil-rights lawyer, killing the man's two young sons. Hall claims that though his grandfather committed the crime, he is not innately a monster, the behavior is the result of an upbringing in a Klan house. Dunaway as Hall's troubled aunt lends a Southern gothic touch to the film.

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