Film Friday Reflection: The Firm

John Grisham’s compelling tale of dastardly doings in a Memphis law firm is nearly 30 years old now, but it still looks as good as ever. Mitch McDeere is a young, brilliant, fresh-faced lawyer snatched up by a firm who make him an offer he can’t refuse. They call themselves a family and promise a bright future for Mitch and Abigail. But before long Mitch finds himself out of his depth and making serious mistakes. He discovers the firm is in cahoots with the Mafia and no one ever leaves the company alive. He is faced with some tough decisions and must dig deep to find a way out. And a way to change things for the better.

If there’s one thing life is good at it’s upending us. Who hasn’t made a few mistakes and ended up in the deep end, splashing about, gasping for air and trying to stay afloat somehow? At some point a guy called Balaam (in Numbers 22) was offered a lot of cash by a dodgy outfit. At first he stuck to his guns and said no, but then, swayed by the dollar signs he gave in and joined up. It nearly killed him. On the way to join the bad guys an angel played hide and seek with a light sabre, and got ready to separate Balaam’s head from his shoulders. Fortunately Balaam’s donkey had taken secret elocution lessons and told his master what was what, thus saving his life and leading him down a better road. One of the things I like about the Bible is its honesty. Its heroes are flawed and can just as easily get it wrong as we can. Peter, Jonah, David and others fell over their own ideas and egos on various occasions. Which is no bad thing for us. There are no saints really, just flawed, life-skewered people invited to be players in God’s plan to light up the world. Encouraged to be part of ‘slowly infecting this dark world with love’, to quote activist Shane Claiborne.

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