The movie begins with the murder of William Santiago, a marine of United States of America posted at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Two other marines Dawson and Downey are charged with murder, conspiracy of murder and conduct unbecoming USA.
The movie poses a question to the practices in army but that is not why I watched A few good men five times in the past two months. There’s something special in the honesty of the characters of this movie.
An eloquent JoAnne Galloway, Lieutenant Commander and a prolific lawyer, played by Demi Moore, shows keenness towards taking up the case in her belief that there’s more to it than two marines killing another. However, given her skills that threaten to stir up the sacred and clandestine codes of the army, the case is cautiosly handed to Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, an immature and disinterested lawyer who has a record of out of court settlements. This character that spends more time playing softball than in office is played by Tom Cruise.
As Counsellor Kaffee’s clients, Dawson and Downey do not reveal much. They answer what they have been asked, and say not a word or a gesture more. Dawson is acknowledges that his taciturnity with respect to this case might get him into trouble, but he is headstrong and takes pride in and values code before anything else. He is not afraid of the punishment that awaits him whereas Downey has no say of his own. He follows Dawson. With Dawson’s lip tight, Counsellor Kaffee has nothing but speculations and small clues that come his way during the course of collecting evidences. Galloway, who is Kaffee’s superior, dissuades him from out of court settlement that he looks for and almost forces him go deeper into the case.
The badass is played spectacularly by Colonel Nathan Jessup who is not only foul mouthed but also a sexist that thinks not once before humiliating whomever fails to understand his altruistic code of conduct.
Kaffee’s most important witness kills himself by firing a pistol into his throat. Despite this, Kaffee outstands himself as a lawyer and the movie gets the better of him. His disclosing of his courtroom strategies before entering the court for the final time might not please everyone because of the harm it causes to one’s curiosity. As for me, it goes well with my personal taste, as he only tells what he’s going to do and not how. The process in itself is splendid.
The climax, though predictable, hinges on an irony where one is left to reconsider the limits of code when it comes to moral values. The movie spares no one in that it hits hard in the face with truth and sadness and sends a blow to the concept of a happy or a morose ending.
All the characters are a treat to the senses. The energy, the vocal capabilities poise of actors come full fledged and suit the time and place the movie is set in. Extraordinary acting skills and a struggle for justice that runs underneath marches ahead of the simple plot.