Based on the bestseller by John Grisham, THE CLIENT is a slickly packaged thriller wrapped in fashionable paranoia and tied up with an incongruously heartening moral. Susan Sarandon won an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of anti-establishment lawyer Reggie Love, whose tough surface hides a heart of pure Jell-O. When young Mark Sway (Brad Renfro) discovers the truth about the murder of a US Senator, he becomes the prey of murderous gangster Barry Muldano (Anthony LaPaglia). In desperate need of help, the boy walks into the office of feisty recovering alcoholic Reggie Love (Sarandon), who can't resist a hopeless case. Her first task is to protect Mark from flamboyant Federal Attorney Roy Foltrigg (Tommy Lee Jones), who tries to trick Mark into revealing what he knows. Unless Love can negotiate certain guarantees of protection before he testifies, her client and his family will be killed. Though ostensibly a thriller, THE CLIENT is rather short on suspense; the movie's real center is the relationship between brittle professional Reggie Love and the tough, vulnerable boy she wants to protect. Jones puts on a captivating show, playing a swaggering tyrant in an expensive suit who's Bible-thumping one moment and preening for the cameras the next; but it's Sarandon and Renfro, an unusually appealing child actor, who dominate the film.