Just Cause (1995)

just cause poster 1995 movie
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 5/10

Good cast

Feels like a weak Law & Order episode

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Just Cause

Studio:  Warner Bros.

Genre(s):  Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  February 17, 1995

MPAA Rating:  R


You Northerners via Scotland think you know everything about the South!

Bobby Earl Ferguson (Blair Underwood) sits on death row, accused of killing a young girl in his Florida town.  When his grandmother (Ruby Dee) goes to famed anti-Death Penalty speaker Paul Armstrong (Sean Connery) for help, Paul, his wife Laurie (Kate Capshaw), and daughter Katie (Scarlett Johansson) head to Florida to investigate the case.  Paul discovers a case of a beaten confession by big wig sheriff Tanny Brown (Laurence Fishburne), a serial murderer (Ed Harris), and a mystery that opens old wounds in a small town that has ties to Paul’s family.

Directed by Arne Glimcher, Just Cause adapts the 1992 suspense thriller by John Katzenbach.  The movie was met by mostly negative reviews and an average showing at the box office.


Sean Connery vs. Children!!!

Just Cause is one of those generic thrillers.  It has surprising twists and turns but never excels beyond being average.  The movie (almost insultingly) also wraps itself in a death penalty case that completely fizzles out (*****Spoiler Alert***** there will be spoilers throughout due to how the story works).

The movie starts out as a movie about if the death penalty is right or not.  The opinions on it can differ, but the movie just uses this as a ploy for the plot and doesn’t really examine it…so Underwood did kill the girl and is set on killing Connery’s wife for her past.  The question is posed at the beginning of the movie on what Connery would do about a killer killing his family but there is no reflection on how the ending changes/doesn’t change anything.  It is just a plot point and too serious of a subject to just gloss over if the movie is going to bring it up…plus, what happens when the truth comes out to all the people brought in by the investigation by Connery including Underwood’s grandmother who believes him?


If you make that ugly face, it will freeze that way…oh, right…guess it doesn’t matter

The saving grace of Just Cause is the cast despite being miscast.  Though Connery chews up his scenes, he’s too old for the role and it would have been served better by someone in their 50s at the max.  Laurence Fishburne is likable as the sheriff with a grudge.  Ed Harris probably serves the film best as the over the top serial killer Blair Sullivan.  Blair Underwood plays some scenes great but turns into a speech giving crazy person by the end.  Other actors appearing in the film include Ruby Dee as Underwood’s grandmother, Ned Beatty as Underwood’s first attorney, and Kevin McCarthy as Capshaw’s father.  The movie also features one of Scarlett Johannson’s earliest roles as Connery and Capshaw’s daughter.


Remember the scenario posed at the beginning of the movie…shock & awe it comes true!!!

The movie also is rather average in visuals.  It isn’t very stylish and doesn’t utilize the rich setting of south Florida as well as it could.  The story is about fear and resentment and could have been a great gothic film, but instead takes an easy look and an easy style.

Just Cause is simply a popcorn movie that is about the level of a Law and Order episode.  If you want a better film with a similar feel, check out Primal Fear.  The cast feels rather wasted and the movie feels a bit pretentious at points…It might have been better if it was a comedy called Just ’Cause.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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