Alan Hruska’s sophomore outing, after the clumsy, whimsy-laden “Nola,” sticks closer to the helmer’s solid law background. Results, though only marginally more realistic, nevertheless conform to recognizably earthbound genre templates as a young counselor’s (Anson Mount) first important case ushers in a Mafia boss (Jake Weber), a beautiful, drug-addicted key witness (Erica Leerhsen) and an eye-patched, samurai sword-wielding client (Dan Hedeya). Strong cast builds considerable goodwill toward the narrative, but the script’s internal logic is as formulaic and half-baked as the pic’s action is blocky and unconvincing. Theatrical outlook may hinge on the rising-star leads.
As Francis Ford Coppola did in his legal eagle “The Rainmaker,” Hruska relies on bravura acting turns to carry the plot. Mount brings a nice, self-deprecating humor, which dovetails neatly with the rueful, been-around pro played by Jamey Sheridan Weber channels flashes of his “Medium” domesticity into his loving father/monstrous hubby psychopath. But it is Leerhsen as a magnificently atypical junkie who steals the show. Characters, however, once trotted out with requisitely colorful personality trappings, are simply slotted back into the safely apolitical, by-the-numbers genre machinery.