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Movie Spoiler - The Firm

Updated on May 8, 2013

Movie Spoiler - The Firm

Young idealistic Tom Cruise portrays young idealistic Mitch McDeere in this adaptation of John Grisham's novel of the same name. McDeere is a fresh-faced eager pint-sized new graduate of a hoity-toity law school from Back East (try to ignore the fact that Cruise was 30 years old when he made the movie).

Mitchy finds himself wooed by EvilCorp in Memphis, Tennessee. These guys are just rotten. When they all gather in the same room, the city of Memphis breaks out in a cold sweat. They are so stinky that their biggest client is Organized Crime, but even the mobsters don't want to be in the same city with their attorneys. They are so slimy that their head of security is played by Wilford Brimley, who made a career out of cereal commercials for Quaker Oats. Brimley's character is so soiled that his personal assistant is the company hit man. Don't worry, though. The young idealistic attorney ends up killing the creepy professional killer albino guy. Perhaps McDeere earned a few hand-to-hand combat electives at law school.

Satan turned down a temp-to-hire offer from this company. Dr. Evil uses them as a reference on his resume. Donald Trump attends their evil seminars. You get the idea.

Mitch, his tormented wife, and their adorable dog take up residence in a house provided by The Firm. They drive Firm cars, take Firm vacations, attend Firm barbecue parties, and happily live their lives nestled in the loathsome cocoon provided by their employer. It's all fun and games until someone loses a life.

Mitch pretty much leaves trail of death and destruction from Memphis to the Cayman Islands. Gary Busey dies, Gene Hackman dies, Tobin Bell dies, and the plot dies. Incalculable numbers of bit players are placed in mortal danger as McDeere unwinds his risky scheme to topple Evil from its lofty perch. You almost feel sorry for the filthy lawyers who hired him in the first place.

As if this movie doesn't already have enough evil, the FBI approaches McDeere. Ed Harris turns in a tormented performance as Special Agent Wayne Tarrance. McDeere manipulates Tarrance throughout the film, leaving one to wonder if the FBI was left with table scraps after The Firm snapped up all the truly evil talent in Memphis. Tarrance proves himself unable to execute even the simplest Special Agent assignment although he does look respectable in a trench coat. He allows McDeere's brother to escape from prison, he allows himself to be recorded while threatening a witness, and he gnashes his teeth into the telephone as McDeere teaches him not to mess with Young Idealism from Back East.

Long story short: McDeere outwits, outplays, and outlasts federal agents, hit men, lawyers, and postal inspectors. He schools the FBI in evasion tactics. He bulldozes Organized Crime using legal advice given to him by one of his legitimate clients (The Firm is so evil that they even cheat their legitimate clients). He wins back his wife (we suspect he never really lost his dog) and leaves Memphis happily ever after. In his rear view mirror we see the smoking ruins of EvilCorp. Final score: Idealistic Moderate Evil 1, Ultimate Evil 0.

What We Learn from The Firm

  • We learn that lawyers in their natural habitat are no match for Young Idealistic New Hires from Back East.
  • We learn that the FBI cannot overcome Young Idealism, but it all ends well unless you're already dead.
  • We learn that a professional killer can thrive in a corporate environment.
  • We learn that it's possible to drive away from your troubles in a dented Celica Supra.
  • We learn that shooting a movie in forced perspective can make Tom Cruise look as tall as Jeanne Tripplehorn.

The Firm is Tom Cruise's best work

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    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      4 years ago from Ohio, USA

      This movie was on cable yesterday. Now my page views have spiked, relatively.

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @drbj : I've not heard of Marcia Gay Harden.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Funny review, nicomp, but right on. Is it just me, or do Jeanne Triplehorn and Marcia Gay Harden look very much alike?

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @Shinkicker: Thanks. I need to review some Ed Harris vehicles.

    • Shinkicker profile image


      8 years ago from Scotland

      Cheers for the review nicomp

      Great film and of course Ed Harris stole the show as usual. What a fine actor he is.

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @lmmartin: I thought so also. However, that's not enough words to fill out a hub. ;)

    • lmmartin profile image


      8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I suspect your lovely word usage is fancy-talk for "unreal." But then an author who often writes of the newcomer, the idealistic, recently graduated, without resource but deservingly pure, young lawyer who triumphs over the established, wealthy, powerful law firm -- well let's just say the perspective is as believable as anything put out by Stephen King. People want escape. People want to believe good will triumph. Anything in the legal gendre written realistically would put anyone to sleep. I thought the firm a fun film -- just that, no more.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting review. I loved the novel but am not enthralled with Tom.

    • dusanotes profile image


      8 years ago from Windermere, FL

      Thanks Nicomp for the review of the movie. The John Grisham book is even more riveting. I love mysteries and suspense novels. You did a great job. Don White


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