The Juror (1996) starring Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Heche, James Gandolfini, Tony Lo Bianco, Michael Constantine directed by Brian Gibson Movie Review

The Juror (1996)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Demi Moore in The Juror

Demi Moore's Runaway Juror

When you watch a lot of movies there are generally 2 types which you remember, either the very good or the very bad, those in between, the distinctly average are the ones you tend to forget. As such I know I watched "The Juror" when it first came out but couldn't remember much about it other than it starred Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin and a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Re-watching it recently it's understandable why I failed to remember it because frankly "The Juror" is very average, actually it verges more on the bad than good when it comes to being average with some unbelievable characters and an even more unbelievable storyline which careers out of control.

Having been selected to be a juror on an important trial against a Mafia boss, sculptor Annie Laird (Demi Moore - Disclosure) not only finds her life in danger but also that of her sons when she is ordered by a Mafia enforcer known as "Teacher" (Alec Baldwin - Malice) to persuade the jury to vote "Not Guilty". But even when the trial ends her life and her sons are still under threat forcing her to take matters into her own hands.

Alec Baldwin as Teacher in The Juror

The actual main storyline to "The Juror" isn't actually that bad and I quite like the idea of a juror being forced to turn a juries decision by a mafia henchman. Even the following storyline about having done what she is told still leaves her in danger is quite good, it has some great possibilities for a tense dramatic thriller. But the way the storyline is executed in "The Juror" is poor and seriously unbelievable. The characters just don't fit with the storyline and to try and increase the drama the whole thing spirals out of control ending up so implausible it all becomes laughable.

It doesn't actually bode well from the start where we are introduced to the central character of Annie Laird who is being given the chance to get out of doing jury duty on a case against a mafia boss. Now in my opinion you would have to be daft to agree to do it when you get the chance to be excused and as such it makes the character of Annie a bit of a contradiction as she happily agrees to it. She is just too happy to serve on the jury yet she is targeted by the mafia henchman Teacher to be the one to turn the jury from proclaiming Guilty to Not Guilty. It doesn't make sense and so it continues as the character suddenly becomes clever enough to basically take on the Mafia when she realises that both her and her son are in danger.

The issues with unbelievable characters continue when it comes to The Teacher and for someone who is meant too be a cool, calm, calculated cold blooded killer he really isn't that menacing. Yes Alec Baldwin does a good job of making him this ultra calm character with a touch of the psycho about it but he just doesn't come across as being this henchman who is pulling the strings behind the scenes. It's not that either Alec Baldwin as The Teacher or Demi Moore as Annie does a terrible job, they play the characters they are given well but the characters themselves are wrong.

Being wrong again is the actual ending which in order to try and deliver the excitement and danger you would expect the storyline borders on the ridiculous. It becomes almost stupid and overly contrived. In a strange way if the story had been purely about getting Annie to turn the jury's decision then "The Juror" would have worked in the same way that the "Runaway Jury" worked. And if it ended at that point then much of which is bad about "The Juror" wouldn't have happened.

Aside from Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin the rest of the cast generally fail to make any impression with Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivering the cuteness you would expect from a young innocent child and James Gandolfini whilst perfectly cast to be a mafia henchman doesn't really get much to do. Then there is Anne Heche as Annie's friend Juliet a character which seems to have been included for one purpose, the completely cliche sex scene which sees Anne Heche frolicking about topless with Alec Baldwin. Which is meant to be a clever twist but you would have to be daft not to see it coming.

What this all boils down to is that "The Juror" is a rather average and ultimately disappointing thriller. The combination of poor characters and a storyline which spirals completely out of control spoils what could have been quite a clever thriller. But to try and generate excitement it ends up becoming overly contrived and unbelievable going for big drama to try and achieve an exciting ending.