A MURDER OF CROWS
(1999)

Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Eric Stoltz, Tom Berenger

Written and Directed by Rowdy Herrington

Format: Video/DVD

Rating R: Has some short sex scenes

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Reviewed by Judith Fox

Unconscionable, thatís the big word in this film. Donít get me wrong but the whole film reeks of lawyers. In fact, the main character, Lawson Lundell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is a disbarred lawyer. Itís the storyís opinion most lawyers deserve to be disbarred or even better, killed for their lower than bottom feedersí morals.

A lawyerís life goes on a roller coaster ride when he is disbarred. All because his guilty conscience finally gets to him while defending his rich slimy client, Thurman (Eric Stoltz). He bails in the middle of Thurmanís murder trial. Lawson wants out and the system disbars him.

Moving to Key West, Florida, where his deceased father, a judge, bought a house, Lawson becomes an escapee from society. Heís going to write a novel. As the narrator, Lawson says, "Writing isnít easy." No kidding.

An old man approaches Lawson to read his manuscript called "A Murder of Crows," a catchy title for this plot and conveniently explained in the film. Lawson reads and admires the story. He goes to see the old man to return the manuscript. But the old man is dead.

So there is Lawson with the old manís fabulous unpublished manuscript. Whatís a disbarred lawyer to do? Plagiarize, of course. Heís on the road to riches. But thereís more dips and dives for Lawson a/k/a Faust.

Shakespeare wrote, "Kill All the Lawyers." One of the keys in this mystery story. Lots of thrills and surprises. The injustices of the court system and rotten ethics are the theme here. Obvious perhaps but gripping.

Elizabeth Hope (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), the only "hope" in Lawsonís life is his best and only friend. New Orlean Detective Clifford Dubose (Tom Berenger) is the police detective who has the bad luck to charge Lawson with murders. Yes, murders, (more than one). All the supporting characters are convincing and important to the plot. Soon Lawson is investigating this whole dilemma. After all, it is his nightmare.

There are unanswered questions and flaws, but all in all this movie is a good suspenseful mystery thriller.

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