Before I continue, I’m going do this:
SPOILER WARNING!! GO WATCH THIS FILM BEFORE CONTINUING!!
Aaron Sorkin is one of those rarities in the world of screen-writing, in that he is widely recognised as a name in the popular consciousness. Actors are obviously know, directors are often known, but few writers ever really attain the same kind of instant recognition to those who don’t make it their business to know such things. And with good reason. Sorkin has created some of the best and most well known works of film, TV and theatre of the past few decades, as well as some of the most memorable characters (CJ Cregg anyone?), and picking up awards and plaudits along the way. Back in 1989, the world got the first look at Sorkin’s play about a military trial over the murder of one Marine at the hands of two others, and it was only a few years later that the film adaptation was released to great acclaim. In 1992, we saw Rob Reiner’s film version of A Few Good Men.
Is a courtroom confession ultimately rather unrealistic? Perhaps, but when the drama and performance is this good, I’ve already shifted aside any questions of verisimilitude. Why? Because I don’t want to handle the truth.
Setting the scene: Putting everything on the line to prosecute the case, Kaffee calls Colonel Jessup to the witness stand, knowing he could be court-martialled for doing so. Jessup stands up to questioning in the beginning, but is thrown when Kaffee catches a lie and goes after it. Hounding the high-ranking officer, Jessup finally snaps when Kaffee demands the truth…