Law And Order In The Reel World
On the occasion of World Legal Services Day, we put down a list of some of the best legal films made. Far moved from the melodrama or cinematic liberties that many filmmakers resort to, so that they can work box office wonders, this bunch of films is a cut above the rest for their realism and subtle, realistic portrayal of the events and courtroom drama.
Erin Brockovich: A spectacular film with great performances by its actors, especially Julia Roberts who plays the eponymous protagonist, Erin Brockovich is not your regular legal film. Based on a true story, it showcases how a single, twice-divorced, unhappy mother meets lawyer Ed Masry through fate and gets a job as his legal assistant. During an assignment, she uncovers the dirty truth about a power company which supplies poisoned water to local residents. The film was honoured with 32 awards and 57 nominations, with Julia Roberts taking away most of the accolades for her splendid and earthy performance, as the aggressive and determined Erin.
My Cousin Vinny: A mind-blowing script, a powerful star cast and brilliant direction is what sets ‘My Cousin Vinny’ apart from its contemporaries. Joe Pesci plays Brooklyn lawyer Vincent LaGuardia Gambini aka Vinny, who is asked to defend his cousin and friend in a murder trial. Marisa Tomei plays his girlfriend Mona Lisa Vito, and received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, which is extremely praiseworthy since it’s very rare to see the Academy Awards even nominate a comedy film, much less give away an award.
Talvar: Based on a true story, Talvar, which means ‘Sword’ in Hindi, revolves around the double murder case of a young girl and her family servant, whose investigation took several twists and turns before a final verdict could be pronounced. The film had some commendable performances by Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen and was honoured with two National Awards for its screenplay and audiography. It highlighted the loopholes in the legal system and the investigating police officers’ apathy and poor investigation. Talvar was released internationally as ‘Guilty’ and was immensely loved by fans and critics alike.
A Few Good Men: If you want a kickass combination of law and military, watch this film directed by Rob Reiner, who succeeds in handling the show really well from start to end. While Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson give power-packed performances as defending lawyer and unit in-charge respectively, Demi Moore manages to hold her own ground amidst these fine, seasoned actors. The story revolves around two Marines suspected of murdering a young Private First Class and it is up to Commander Galloway (played by Demi Moore) and Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (played by Tom Cruise) to save them from the noose. While Galloway is convinced of their innocence in this case, Kaffee has to overcome his insecurities of living in his famous father’s (a successful lawyer) shadow and prove his mettle in a do-or-die situation.
Legally Blonde: If you love a good laugh and wish for a comic relief amidst all these serious films, take a break by watching Reese Witherspoon play Elle Woods, a blonde sorority queen who chases her ex-boyfriend through the halls of Harvard Law School. But once there, she discovers her penchant for the law and moves over him, breaking stereotypes of being a ‘dumb blonde’ and entertaining us with several light moments.
To Kill a Mockingbird: Based on Harper Lee’s book by the same name, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is arguably one of the best films of all time in this category, and went on to win 3 Oscars, 10 other awards and 16 nominations. Gregory Peck does an incredible job of playing Atticus Finch, the righteous and warm-hearted lawyer who fathered the heroine Scout and shaped her modern views on society and humanity, despite residing in a racist and prejudiced community. Atticus’ legal procedures were phenomenal and impressive and can give a tip or two to aspiring law students who wish to change the world with their power of rhetoric.
Andha Kanoon: A film filled with drama and suspense from start to end, Andha Kanoon, meaning ‘The Law is Blind’ in Hindi, is based on a forest officer who does his duty by protesting against poachers who were cutting down sandalwood trees illegally. But during the scuffle, one of them dies and the blame falls on the officer, who is unjustly sent to prison. His family commits suicide and he returns bitter and vengeful, after completing his sentence. What follows is a series of gripping events and the entry of some pivotal characters, who take the film to its powerful climactic end. The film has a dynamic star cast comprising legendary actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Rajnikanth, Hema Malini, Amrish Puri, Danny Denzongpa, Prem Chopra, Pran, Reena Roy, and Asrani whose high-octane performances give the film credibility and star power.
Pink: A compelling film with mind-blowing performances by Amitabh Bachchan, Tapsee Pannu and others, Pink sends across a strong message to the world at large, that when a woman says no, it’s a no. Too often we take a woman’s no for granted, expecting her to give in with a little persuasion and if needed, brutal force. This film addresses the very root of female abuse and attempts to tackle the issue with a straightforward and blatant approach instead of beating around the bush.
Judgement at Nuremberg: A gruesome story based in Nazi Germany, Judgement at Nuremberg is a good rendition of the horrors faced by the Nazi’s enemies during the Holocaust and explicitly portrays how the Nazis used law and public sentiment to drive people against each other. The very law used to safeguard human rights was twisted and turned by them to obliterate their enemies from the face of the earth. Watch this film to increase your GK about Hitler’s inhumane policies and to maybe cry your heart out.