Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Class Action


I felt tired no more than fifteen minutes into this. Gene Hackman is a Crusading Lawyer who is beginning a case against a car maker whose vehicles have a slight tendency to bursts into flames when rear-ended. We’ve seen him a million times before, and usually played better. His daughter, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, has sold her soul to a huge firm and cares about nothing but making partner. Yawn. They have Issues. He wasn’t there for her, boo-hoo. He played around on his wife, and what else is new? Surprise, she lands the job of defending the car maker against Dad’s class action suit. She starts in doing all the repulsive, vomit-making things a big law firm does in cases like this, finding dirt on the victims, breaking them down, humiliating them. And so, she whips his butt, makes partner, and lives happily ever after in corporate law heaven, right? If you really think that …

I’ll admit that the way she comes up with for getting out of her ethical dilemma when she discovers, as she inevitably does, that the car company and her legal firm—including her boyfriend, who is in on it up to his shyster eyebrows—is ingenious, turning their dirty tricks around on them. But man, I get a great sense of futility when I see these David and Goliath stories. I no longer really believe they happen much in the real world. I guess that’s why we make movies like this, to pretend that sometimes the good guys win. I just have a harder and harder time believing it. And it makes me tired.