Producer and director exhibit an excess of faith in today’s educational system if they think the bulk of today’s filmgoing audience will know the title’s 15th-century derivation as an extra-judicial body.
Chamber does start out on an important note. The US criminal justice system is not only collapsing but what’s left has been perverted until the victims of crime have no hope of satisfaction nor protection.
As a decent, conscientious judge, Michael Douglas deals with the problem daily, forced by straining legal precedent to free the obviously ‘guilty’.
Severely stricken by one event, Douglas turns to his friend and mentor, Hal Holbrook, who is secretly part of a group of judges who mete out their own fatal sentences on criminals who’ve been through their real courts and gone free.
Getting to this point in the film, there’s a pleasure in rediscovering intelligent dialog, ably provided by Hyams and Roderick Taylor. But the talk is haunted by concern that this intellectual morass cannot be solved within the confines of cinema.