If you are really in the mood for classic suspense cinema again, you should tonight, from July 2nd to 3rdswitch on ZDF at 0:35 a.m., because there is an absolute masterpiece with “A question of honor” – without advertising! The highly gripping legal thriller from 1992 not only lives from its stirring story, but can also shine with an excellent ensemble. Alternatively, you can of course also purchase the film from online retailers such as Amazon:
›› “A Matter of Honor” at Amazon*
At the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, soldier William T. Santiago (Michael DeLorenzo) is given a good beating by his comrades Harold W. Dawson (Wolfgang Bodison) and Louden Downey (James Marshall). The two tie Santiago to a chair and stuff a cloth in his mouth. A short time later the young man is dead. The two perpetrators are charged and the Navy officer and military attorney Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is hired as a defense attorney.
He holds the current record for out-of-court deals, but has never seen the inside of a courtroom. The inexperienced but ambitious lawyer JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore) suspects a so-called Code Red – a punitive action ordered by officers. Galloway himself wanted the case but didn’t get it. After meeting the commander on duty at Guantanamo, Colonel Nathan Jessep (Jack Nicholson), Kaffee also believes in a Code Red. To find out the truth, he has to risk not only his career but also his life…
Director Rob Reiner (“Harry and Sally”) and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (Oscar for “The Social Network”) deliver a Hollywood flagship film of the extra class. The official DashFUN review even crowned “A Question of Honor” with 5 out of 5 stars – the absolute highest rating! For us, the thriller is one of the great moments of cinema, as the conclusion of the review underlines once again:
“‘A question of honour‘ is a perfectly staged and narrated ensemble play and impressive drama, still with moral and political relevance.”
What makes “A Matter of Honor” so enduring and worthy of discussion is the fact that Reiner and Sorkin don’t deliver a smooth-edged tear from the dream factory here, but really stand up for it ambivalent character dynamics and inner tensions interested. The moral discourse, which was of course even more explosive at the time due to the debates about Guantanamo Bay, can still be captivating today.
This is also due to the really grandiose cast. In the role of Daniel Kaffee, Tom Cruise proves that he is capable of creating a mature character portrait and not only comes across as dazzlingly juvenile, but also disturbed and torn. Above all, however, it is Jack Nicholson who offers the really big show here and who mercilessly pulls the ears of all his colleagues.
When Nicholson bellows his iconic phrase, “You can’t handle the truth!” from the bottom of his heart in the nerve-wracking and unforgettable finale, you know exactly why this scene attracted aspiring performers * shown in drama schools. Rarely has the atmosphere in a legal thriller been so cutting. Great art!
This is a re-release of an article previously published on DashFUN.
*The link to the Amazon offer is a so-called affiliate link. If you make a purchase through this link, we will receive a commission.