User Reviews (30)

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  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm giving a review just to enlighten myself of the torture of having watched it.

    Contrary to the name and use of courthouse terms, the movie has nothing to do with a trial.

    I am not convinced if there even was a case in the first place. No context whatsoever. There is no weapon,no motive, no fingerprints nothing.

    There is/was no evidence for the conviction/non-conviction of the accused and yet the jury comes up with a verdict.

    There are a lot of unanswered questions in the movie and vice versa.

    Please do something else that would be productive with your time.
  • If one sees The Trial on DVD or on a television broadcast, hasten to assure yourselves you will not be seeing the Orson Welles film The Trial or a remake thereof. If you see it stars Matthew Modine than make sure you catch it.

    The film opens with Modine who has been unable to come to grips with the death of his wife and children ready to blow the top of his head off with a revolver. As he's ready to do the deed, a phone call comes.

    It's from Judge Rance Howard who wants to get Modine back in the among the living and in the practice of his profession. He appoints him the defense attorney of young Randy Wayne who is accused of the murder of his sweetheart, the daughter of a prominent family in the area. He plied her with 'roofies' to loosen her inhibitions and he's taken them himself. When he came down he finds himself with her dead body and no memory of the crime at all.

    He gets all his courtroom skills back, it's like riding a bicycle, once learned it all comes back. But this is a tough case and he needs the assistance of psychologist Claire Carey, research assistant Nikki Deloach and most of all Robert Forster his late wife's brother for some heavy muscle and a bit of detective work. The answer is quite a bit more involved than a case of 'roofies' gone bad.

    Modine who also produced this gives a carefully delineated performance of a lawyer being brought back to life in his profession and every day living. In the end he has reason to thank the Deity for being spared in the tragedy that overtook his family.

    The Trial has the look and feel of a television pilot and I'm sure Matthew Modine is trying to sell it to one of the networks. I do hope he succeeds.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Matthew Modine (Mac) is very believable as a retired Attorney who because of personal circumstances has reached the end of his rope and sees no options. The murder of a wealthy man's daughter becomes an opportunity to make a difference in someone else's life. He is forced by the local Judge to represent the boyfriend accused of the murder. The evidence appears to be damning. During his preparation for trial on the Defendants behalf his old legal team help him to see life in a different perspective. The question is whether the Trial will result in further depression over his circumstance or will it be a catalyst for hope? Along the way there are some unexpected turns. Bob Gunton is the State Prosecutor who is aggressively going after the death penalty for Mac's client. Robert Forster is excellent as Mac's investigator and Nikki DeLoatch plays a spunky paralegal with a fun side. Danny Vinson is hilarious as a witness to crucial evidence in the Trial. This was a entertaining film with a message of hope for those who are grief stricken in life.
  • daumas11 July 2012
    Surprisingly good movie with Mat Modine.

    Some people said it's a religious movie but it's not as much others I've seen lately. Except for some dialogs between Mac and the psychiatrist, there's no more of that.

    The plot is kind of predictable but much better than several of the current courtroom dramas we see in the theaters or TV.

    The movie has very good acting with some exceptions but those don't compromise the movie itself. Very touching, with some twists and some suspense in the end.

    I would recommend for my friends.
  • jojoscatt77 November 2010
    I am always looking for good films to watch with my family. Last night, we sat down with our kids (13 and 15) and watched THE TRIAL.

    It was refreshing to see a movie that had a simple message and for once not have that message rammed down our throats. My grandmother died recently and some of the elements from the film really helped.

    I loved the cast. Matthew Modine has always been a favorite and this seemed like one of the few recent films he's done that really challenged him.

    Now... as a Southerner it was nice to see no real stereotypes and yet everything seemed natural. I think it helped that they let actors like Robert Forster just be himself instead of putting on a fake accent.

    All in all, we liked it and recommend it.
  • How on earth did this get an IMDb rating of 8.7! I had to check a couple of time to make sure that: 1. I had watched the same flick as the other reviewers 2. I hadn't fallen asleep and woken up on a Sunday afternoon in 1980 3. My fondue had not been stolen for the plot and 4. That I hadn't missed a guest appearance from Columbo! I love a good "easy watch" film but this was just boring. I feel the storyline was weak, not knowing whether to follow the tales of woe about the lawyer or the trial of the boy with neither being strong enough to carry the film. The only good thing I can say was that the cast were well suited to the film (although that's like being told you were a good swimmer when everyone else round you are doing the Doggy Paddle) and it made me crave a cheese sandwich. I'm off to cleanse myself with an episode of Perry Mason!
  • I went into this movie without knowing much about it besides it being about a criminal case that involves capital punishment. My expectations weren't really that high, I just wanted to be entertained for an hour and a half, unfortunately this movie did not cut it. If you've watched any other movie or TV show involving criminal cases or jury trials you can pretty much predict everything that is going to happen within the first 10 minutes of the movie and the cornier you guess the better. This movie hit every cliché there is at least twice. I guess you might have to give the actors some credit for keeping a straight face while saying their lines. The actors are pretty much the only reason I gave this 4 stars, the story itself deserves a 1, since a 0 doesn't exist. I certainly can't recommend this movie to anyone. If you think about going to see it I recommend you rent yourself a copy of any John Grisham movie or watch Law and Order Trial by Jury.
  • Retired lawyer Mac (Modine) receives a telephone call from a judge who wants him to defend Pete Thompson (Wayne) who was arrested for killing Angela, his girl friend, and he has no memory of what happened that fateful night.

    This has all the feel of a made-for-TV movie, but very slow, perhaps too slow. We wait, too often, for characters to say their lines to a point we get tired of waiting and we scream out the lines we think are forthcoming. And, most times we are correct.

    We understand about predictability, and we go along with it because we know that it's in the telling that the story works. But, here it was just too slow. Maybe that is why Mac's legal assistant, Mindy, goes somewhat overboard with her exuberance which was a complete contrast from everyone else. In other words she was too bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when that was not called for, but the director allowed it. I thought she was annoying because of it, but, maybe she knew this needed some life. She wasn't wrong. Some may think she was a breath of fresh air in here. Hmmm………….

    The clues were good, but there was no suspense or tension, and for a courtroom drama that hurts big time. Some logic flew out the window at times. Can't mention what logic as that gives away too much. Sorry (but it had much to do with motive, shhhhhh………..). The audience was forgotten. You know, the more I think about it, maybe this wasn't good enough to be a made-for-TV movie. At least I see tension and suspense in many TV dramas. Here everything was monotone, low-key, level, bland. Well, except for Mindy, of course.

    Violence: Yes, very little. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: No.
  • This movie should come with a label warning the viewer that the only people who will enjoy it will also enjoy sitting through a two hour church service with no singing and no suspense, while they listen to their pastor summarize his previous 20 sermons.

    What has happened to Matthew Modine? This is not the same actor I saw in Full Metal Jacket or Vision Quest.

    There should also be a warning that nothing in the movie will have anything in common with a real trial. I could have done a better closing in my sleep.

    I'm embarrassed I watched it. I could have spent the evening cutting my wrists and letting the blood out one drop every 15 minutes. It would have been much more interesting. The movie is as dull as my review.
  • Yet another courtroom drama. The problem with these kind of films is "how do you wrap it up", and The Trial doesn't escape from the same lame ending as many more films before it.

    interesting up to a point, the first half of the film qualifies as a "very good, for-TV show", but thats about it. the current 5.8 IMDb vote pretty much sums it up, add the fact that the film itself is not really interesting, and you know you can do better with 90 minutes of your time.

    A retiring lawyer whose son just died takes on the defense of a very unlikely young ex-marine, who is obviously being framed for the murder of his fiancée. The only two actors worth mentioning, the two lawyers, go trough the case until the verdict; Then, a rapid - and very unwelcome - change of pace leads to the fast and amateurish end of the film.

    The Trial is the very essence of a film that can be missed - it has no redeeming qualities, and although not horrible per se, there is absolutely nothing to keep you interested. Not the kind of rubbish that makes you change the channel, but certainly not something you might want to rent or buy.


    decent but uninvolved acting, recycled script with no conclusion, boring music, and so-so production. Avoid.
  • davyd-022378 July 2018
    Given the fact that this appeared on a Christian channel, our house expected this to have something ultimately it did not have. May I suggest, you do NOT waste your time. There isn't 1 redeeming feature within the 95 minutes of this film which is actually hugely disappointing and has little to do with Christianity. There are many many other things you can find to do in the 95 minutes this lasts which will be more beneficial than sitting through it. The ending, in my view, isn't really that believeable
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film must be counted among the worst courtroom dramas ever filmed. Typically, the eyewitness testimony and the lawyers' summations are riveting. In this case, the viewer desperately wants the court scenes to end to get back to the main crime investigation.

    Matthew Modine is the down-on-his-luck attorney, who was closed to suicide after the tragic death of his wife and children in an auto accident. The legal case serves as his "comeback" from depression, as he seeks an innocent verdict for a fine, young man who has been falsely accused of killing his girlfriend.

    As the trial winds down, the viewer begins to recognize that the subtext of the film is retailing a Christian message that has to do with the theme of "life." The trial drags on with the closing arguments, then deliberations of the jury for a sentencing. The film's big "payoff" scene comes after the trial has concluded and we finally learn who is the real villain. SPOILER ALERT FOLLOWS: In a nearly comic scene in the defense attorney's office, the villain turns out to be a psychiatrist, who has a fondness for drugging his victims, prior to killing them. By this point, the film has lapsed into comedy.

    The best thing to say about the trial is that it appears on Amazon Prime for FREE!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The acting and story line in this film were just awful! It didn't make any sense at all and had no relationship to a real trial. This is all about teaching you about God and faith (not in itself bad, but if you have to be tricked into watching a movie about faith and religion, you know its not going to be worth your time).

    You'll catch on quickly when the credits refer to the at the end.

    Spend your time doing anything at all besides watching this movie!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If you are a 'believer' in need of having your faith reinforced by an attractive medium, then this is your movie. Family friendly, violence-free, tranquil 'To-Kill-a-Mockingbird' small-town setting and warm musical score, it's all there. And you will probably not be too distracted by the thin, worn and predictable plot and the inconsistent editing. As far as the acting, perhaps the actors and actresses involved gave as much of their talent as was possible. That I don't really feel qualified to assess. But having been a trial attorney myself, as with every film featuring a criminal trial, I'm interested in whatever nuances the writers will bring not only to the climactic jury delivery (there were, to be sure, some insightful words in that respect), but also to the attorneys' stress, preparation, investigation, planning, questioning, etc. And that is where for me the movie fails, in that in its subtle eagerness to put across its god-centered message, it ignores the gaping insufficiencies in the substance of the trial itself. No defense attorney with a conscience and a capable intellect would ever come to a murder trial as ill-prepared as Modine's character. In the film-makers' defense, it was obvious in several of the courtroom scenes and exchanges, that the novelist and/or scriptwriter did have some legal consultation during the project, but it simply was overborne by the inevitable tendency of artists to create somewhat of an alchemist's solution rather than expend the effort necessary to fashion a more richly atmospheric, suspenseful tale. For the latter, and without the theism, try "The Verdict" starring Paul Newman.

    Perhaps my chief 'criticism' of this film, however, is in its deception-by-omission marketing. Certainly there is nothing objectionable about making a family-friendly movie. Many studios do a wonderful job of doing so, and I too have had enough of blood, gore, car chases, superheroes and CGI to last a lifetime. But this film is more than just a vehicle for family entertainment. It is a film that you would expect to see in a church or religious setting, not in a general public distribution. If you are skeptical that this film's central message is advocacy for a theistically-centered life, be mindful near the end of the credits which inform you that for more information about the 'themes' in the movie, visit Doing so will dispel any doubt.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is my first review ever here on IMDb. Probably my last because I am embarrassed I sat thru this entire dish of cold pablum.

    A few of the reviews above here almost make the movie worth knowing about, like the 20 sermon summary one. {notice I did not say worth watching.....hmm maybe that is an idea, get some the clever user reviews copied onto the "bonus material" on the DVD. Then at least if you rented by mistake or some mean friend sent you as a'd have something to enjoy}

    oh heck the IMDb says I must have at least 10 lines in my review...gad how can one say even 10 words in support of this piece of drivel, let alone 10 lines? I really hope you avoid this one..OK OK it may not be that is just your basic ZERO..

    === = = = I have to stop now and go enjoy some cheese whiz for excitement. = = = == =
  • THE TRIAL, adapted from Robert Whitlow's novel of the same name by director Gary Wheeler and Mark Freiburger, is in many ways a reminder of what movies used to be - movies that centered on trials of innocent victims or trials that, like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, surfaced other issues to ponder. This film is a quiet little intimate tale about the justice system in all its elegance and flaws, but it is more: there are human stories that interweave giving the film an aura of caring that is so rare in today's CGI-oriented Hollywood.

    The film is set in the beauty of Georgia countryside, complete with mists and fields and rivers where we first see attorney Mac MacClain (Matthew Modine), pensive after the accidental death of his wife and two children nine years ago. His practice has fallen, his mental sate has fallen below the flatline state, and he is contemplating suicide when a telephone call from the wise old town judge (Rance Howard) summons him to take on a case of the murder of one Angela Hightower, the young and beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in the little town, the corrupt Hightower family being part of Mac's sad past encounters. The accused is Angela's boyfriend Pete Thomason (an impressive Randy Wayne) who is now in jail claiming he had total amnesia for the event. Mac feels a sense of responsibility to the boy and agrees to take on the case, hiring back his assistant Mindy (Nikki Deloach) and his investigator Ray (Robert Forster). As they uncover facts Mac seeks advice from psychologist Dr. Anna Wilkes (Clare Carey) who in addition to testing Pete finds time to share her Grieving Group Sessions with Mac.

    The evidence is gathered and the trial begins after a plea bargain is denied by Pete. The Hightower lawyer is the brilliant, eloquent but ruthless Joe Whetstone (a fine performance by Bob Gunton) and the battle of wits and rights is on. The courtroom drama is well written and the turn of events from the trial to the followup findings and second trial are well molded. If the film ends in a too saccharine mode, the quality of acting in the film before that should make the audience tolerate the preachiness. There are some fine cameos -Larry Bagby, Burgess Jenkins, Brett Rice among them - and there is much to learn about contemporary youth habits and small town tenor. This is not a great film, but it is a refreshing memory of the small and intimate films of yesteryear.

    Grady Harp
  • I like courtroom dramas, complete with clever attorneys, plot twists, and surprises. This had all but three of those.

    This is a drama about a man trying to deal with his grief ... and it's every bit as boring as that sounds.

    Matthew Modine mailed it in, and the rest of the cast were mostly wannabes who will never be based on their appearance in this movie. Robert Forster was the only decent actor in this, and his part was cliché and predictable.

    The trial was horribly amateur. Anyone who has watched Law and Order for the past 20 years could point out many courtroom errors and ask valid questions that were never brought out.
  • Slow and not particularly well acted, "The Trial" stars Matthew Modine in what was possibly a TV pilot.

    Modine, one of the producers of this drama, plays Mac, an attorney who has been unable to cope with the horrible deaths of his wife and sons in a car accident. He has not been practicing law and in fact, is about to blow his brains out when a call comes in from a judge (Rance Howard) who wants him to take a case. A young man has been accused of giving a woman drugs and then killing her.

    Mac reluctantly takes this on, coming up against a prosecutor (Bob Gunton) who asks for the death penalty. Mac hires an investigator (Robert Forster) and a psychiatrist (Clare Carey) to see what they can find out about what happened and about the psychological makeup of the man himself.

    Nothing original about this film or the story. Modine gives a nice performance, as does Forster, one of my favorite actors. The rest of the acting was not impressive, nor was the direction. It possibly had the makings of a TV series, though, with some better pacing and scripts.
  • This may appeal to some Christians looking for affirmation of their own faith.

    However, as a movie it is very weak, with an embarrassingly bad court case (you could drive a truck through the prosecution case), which is really just a vehicle for the defence lawyer to rediscover God.

    There are so many flaws in the way the investigation, prosecution and defence are conducted. The characters are cliched. Acting wooden.


    There is really no good reason to watch this tosh.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There is a bigger evil in the film industry besides sex and violence. It is bad scripts and bad acting. This is a faith-based movie designed for young Christian audiences. This review contains some early plot points, but seriously, nothing can spoil this film. Mac is a lawyer who lost his wife and two sons on Christmas Eve. So he does what all men do when that happens. He quits his job and puts a loaded gun to his head. Mac is suddenly saved by the bell when the phone rings. He is ordered by a judge to take a murder case in a small Georgia town that has 3 black people and 4 people with mixed southern accents. An evil big city prosecutor from Atlanta is coming to town. Mac assembles his crack team to help him. Mindy, a perky waitress, who makes helpful suggestions like getting an answering machine for the office, and his dead wife's brother who is part time woodsman and part time investigator. Together they go and investigate the murder uncovering simple pieces of evidence that should have been revealed in any criminal investigation, such as an eye witness who saw two cars the night of the murder and one of them hit his truck. Mac has the accused murderer meet with a female shrink, who also runs a clinic to help people cope with the grief of a loved one through God. Why? Because she was lost her husband. Her 10 year old son shows Mac that you can go on with life as they play catch. Mom had tried to teach the kid to throw a baseball by reading from a book. If this sounds hokey, it is. The courtroom has a huge copy of the 10 commandments displayed behind the witness stand which the camera occasionally zeros in on.

    The script was extremely bad. Anyone who has seen one Perry mason episode could not have written such horrific court scenes. First, based upon the real lack of evidence, the case should have never had gone to trial. There was no real investigation into the murder. The evidence presented by the first witness should not had been allowed and even though the defense had a witness list, his testimony was a complete surprise!

    Watching this film was like watching a train wreak. I kept wanting to turn away, but kept expecting something to happen. No sex, nudity, or bad language, just the proverbial bad uncle who made a pass at his niece.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Trial is a 2010 drama film starring Matthew Modine together with Randy Wayne,Bob Gunton and Robert Forster. It is based on the novel of the same title by Robert Whitlow.The screenplay was written by Mark Freiburger,Gary Wheeler and Robert Whitlow.Also,it was produced and directed by Gary Wheeler.

    Aging, small town attorney Mac McClain is defending a young man accused of murdering the daughter of an influential local.After his two sons and wife die in a horrific car crash, suicide seems to be the only escape for small town attorney for McClain until he's assigned a capital punishment case involving the murder of the daughter of a powerful business man, in which the victim was drugged. All the odds seem stacked against McClain, and he loses the case. However, McClain manages to save the accused man's life by getting him off death row. At the end of the movie, a private investigator discovers that it was someone else who committed the murder and McClain's client is exonerated.

    This is a formulaic and predictable movie from beginning to end.But nevertheless,the movie works due to the fact that is combines the best features of courtroom drama, murder mystery and character story.Also,it is a powerful which shows the power of healing and hope.That in itself makes it a 10/10 rating.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    You just knew the defendant just had to be innocent: a blond and blue eyed young man looking like the boy next door. I was struck by the contrast between the narrow squinty eyes of Matthew Modine as a world weary attorney and the young actor who played the defendant with eyes startlingly large and blue. He was the epitome of wide-eyed innocence. Surely such casting was not accidental.

    I also liked the appearance of Robert Forster. He still needs a hair transplant, but he did a credible job as the investigator. I still remember him from the cult classic 'Alligator' which also featured Dean Jagger in one of his last roles. I hope they both knew this movie was a spoof.
  • I'm glad I saw this . Even sceptics who don't usually enjoy this type of film will like it . Keep watching after you think you know everything because you don't . Note, if you commit crimes while active duty military ,they will not let it go .
  • The story is quite solid. A young man is accused of murdering his girlfriend but he has a loss of memory and can't provide any evidence to the contrary. All the odds are stacked against him escaping the death penalty. Mathew Modine plays his defence lawyer but he has a few obstacles in his way due to the death of his wife and sons which brings him to the brink of suicide. I don't want to go into the story any deeper and spoil it for the rest of you but there are a few surprises in the following proceedings. The acting is pretty strong and the plot keeps the viewer's interest. It's not too drawn out and perhaps the courtroom scenes could have been a bit more in depth and the personal life story scenes a bit shorter. All in all a worthwhile flick. I enjoyed it anyway.
  • danjr_9822 August 2017
    It's funny how differently various people feel about a film. I thought this was a great film. Some felt it was corny and predictable. I suppose there is some truth to that, but the story and especially the characters were believable to me. And the principles like one needing God to help one through devastating loss rang true to me. I'm a Matthew Modine fan now, as imo he carried the film. This film made only $20,000, and I'm sure the budget was two or three times that at least. I found it after pages of B movies because I just joined Amazon Prime and some movies are "free" with that service. I'm adding my review to twenty-some others, at the end, and for the most part this is a forgotten movie with plenty of negative reviews, but I'm glad it was made, and I respect each actor and craftsperson who had anything to do with it.
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