The Client takes place in a steamy Southern Gothic world of corruption, evil and cynicism — John Grisham country, somewhere between Memphis and Yoknapatawpha County (…) He can write, to be sure. But his plots sometimes seem amateurish and overcontrived (…) The Client is not as satisfying as it should be. Much of the blame, I think, goes to Grisham, who, having created genuine characters and placed them in a fascinating fictional situation, loses control and goes over into melodrama when human developments would have been enough. When I’ve met three-dimensional characters in a movie, and grown to believe them, I always resent it when they shrink by a dimension, and start creeping around in an action climax. Just when you really care what they’ll do or say next, they become interchangeable parts from a thriller. The setup in The Client is done so well, it deserves a better payoff. — Roger Ebert

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