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Juror, The (1996, Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin)



The Juror is a ‘slick psycho-thriller, proficient in scares and sick twists’ (Empire) starring Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin, the script being adapted by Ted Tally, the man behind The Silence of the Lambs adaptation.

Oozing charm and malice, Baldwin plays Vincent ‘The Teacher’, a mafioso hitman hired to fix the jury sitting at his boss’s imminent murder trial. One of the jurors is Annie (Moore), a struggling sculptress and single mother who Vincent reckons to be vulnerable to his ‘persuasion’. At first he tries to win her over with a charm offensive – buying up her work and whispering sweet Taoist nothings over dinner. But Annie’s made of stern stuff, and when she resists he turns mean, threatening to kill her darling son Oliver (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

The tactic works. Annie packs Oliver off to a Guatemalan refuge and duly helps swing the jury into acquitting the mob lord. But prosecuting attorney Tallow (Lindsay Crouse) senses something’s up and vows to throw the book at Annie unless she rats on The Teacher.

Vincent’s facing a crisis, as he’s also fallen for his intended victim, but his loyalties still lie with the Mob, and he’s already telegraphed his evil intent by killing off Annie’s best friend Juliet (Anne Heche). Now he’s headed to Guatemala, leaving the feisty heroine only one course of action. She catches the next plane to Central America for a blistering denouement played out in the colourful, disorientating throng of a Mayan carnival.

‘Grippingly directed (and) glossily produced’ according to the Daily Mail, British director Brian Gibson (Breaking Glass, What’s Love Got to Do With It) ‘makes the most of a big budget with swish music, fast cutting, car chases, bombs and shootouts’ (Daily Telegraph).

The Sunday Times hailed Baldwin as ‘a lava flow made flesh, his psychopath is the sort of person you could talk to for a good half-an-hour before realising he was completely insane.’ But top acting honours go to Heche. Her performance prompted Time Out to note that: ‘through sheer will power it seems, this mercurial newcomer blows the stars off the screen.’

production details
USA | 118 minutes | 1996

Director: Brian Gibson
Writer: Ted Tally (from novel by George Dawes Green)

Demi Moore as Annie Laird
Alec Baldwin as Teacher
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Oliver Laird
Anne Heche as Juliet
James Gandolfini as Eddie
Lindsay Crouse as Tallow
Tony Lo Bianco as Louie Boffano
Michael Constantine as Judge Weitzel
Matt Craven as Boone
Todd Susman as Bozeman
Michael Rispoli as Joseph Boffano
Julie Halston as Inez
Frank Adonis as DeCicco
Matthew Cowles as Rodney
Polly Adams as Forewoman