The Pelican Brief Movie Review Summary

Actors: Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard, John Heard, William Atherton, John Lithgow, Stanley Tucci

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Pelican Brief

Based on the John Grisham novel, THE PELICAN BRIEF is a movie written for the screen, produced and directed by Alan J. Pakula (All the President's Men) in 1993.
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As two Supreme Court Justices have just been murdered in Washington D.C., Prof. Thomas Callahan, an alcoholic but talented law teacher, and his student Darbie Shaw, try to figure out the reason for these murders. After a week of researches in the library, Darbie writes a short essay she calls "The Pelican Brief". In this brief, she directly accuses the White House and the man who was the main financial support of the last President election campaign of being responsible for these acts.

Callahan brings the brief to Washington D.C. and gives it to his old friend John Heard who works as a lawyer for the F.B.I. The next day, Callahan dies in the explosion of his car and Darbie Shaw decides to contact the journalist Denzel Washington who was already working on the case. John Heard is soon killed and Darbie Shaw gets out of several murder attempts.

Meanwhile, the President has been informed by the F.B.I. of the content of the Pelican Brief. He asks the F.B.I. director to disregard these accusations that implies him, and his chief of staff to definitively settle this matter. As for Washington, his boss doesn't want to print the story before more evidence incriminating the White House is found.
The review of this Movie prepared by Daniel Staebler

Script Analysis of The Pelican Brief

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Actual chase scenes or violence 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 70%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20% Time/Era of Movie:    -   1980's-1999 Legal/Political Thriller?    -   Yes Political Plotlets:    -   investigating murder of politician(s)    -   President abusing power

Main Character

Identity:    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast    -   Deep South City?    -   Yes City:    -   Washington D.C.    -   New Orleans Misc setting    -   resort/hotel

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   gory visuals of deaths Kind of violence:    -   guns Unusual forms of death    -   perforation--bullets Any profanity?    -   None Lot of special effects?    -   Yes Kinds of F/X    -   exploding vehicles Is this movie based on a    -   book

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