The Gingerbread Man

1997

The Gingerbread Man

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

58%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 43

25%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,726
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The Gingerbread Man Photos

Movie Info

Robert Altman directed this John Grisham tale that begins at a party where Savannah attorney Rick Magruder (Kenneth Branagh) celebrates his successful defense of a man who shot a local cop. The partygoers include his ex-wife Leeanne (Famke Janssen), the mother of his two children; his law partner Lois Harlan (Daryl Hannah); and caterer Mallory Doss (Embeth Davidtz). After Mallory finds her car stolen, Rick gives her a ride home where things turn sexual. Attracted to Mallory, he learns that her crazed father Dixon Doss (Robert Duvall) has been threatening her. Getting too closely involved with this woman he hardly knows, Rick has the police round up her unstable father, and he next subpoenas her ex-husband Pete (Tom Berenger) to testify against Dixon, who is institutionalized. The crazed Dixon manages to escape from the asylum, intent on revenge against all his betrayers and enemies. As a potent hurricane blows into Savannah, Mallory's car is torched, and Rick receives threats. Believing his children are in danger, Rick removes them from school, prompting a warrant for his arrest. When his children disappear, Rich goes on the counterattack against Dixon. Chinese cinematographer Changwei Gu (of Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine and Zhang Yimou's Ju Dou) captured the soaked Savannah sites. The script is not an adaptation from a John Grisham novel; Grisham wrote it as an original screenplay just before the success of The Firm (1993), and it was acquired by producer Jeremy Tannenbaum. After Island Pictures came into the project at $1.4 million, Grisham returned for rewrites. Altman did even more drafts, so the pseudonym Al Hayes was created as the scripting credit. When Polygram suggested to Altman that the electronic score could be replaced with a traditional score, Altman had friends call reporters to say he had been dismissed. Polygram began re-editing the $25 million movie, but their edit didn't test much better than Altman's version, so they handed the reins back to Altman.

Cast

Kenneth Branagh
as Rick Magruder
Embeth Davidtz
as Mallory Doss
Daryl Hannah
as Lois Harlan
Tom Berenger
as Pete Randle
Robert Duvall
as Dixon Doss
Troy Beyer
as Konnie Dugan
Julia R. Perce
as Cassandra
Danny Darst
as Sheriff Hope
Sonny Seiler
as Phillip Dunson
Walter Hartridge
as Edmund Hess
Rosemary Newcott
as Dr. Bernice Sampson
Wilbur Fitzgerald
as Judge Russo
David Hirsberg
as Tom Cherry
Paul Carden
as Judge Cooper
Bob Minor
as Mr. Pitney
Myrna White
as Tax Clerk
Jim Grimshaw
as Desk Cop
Stuart Greer
as Detective Hal
Nita Hardy
as Policewoman
Ferguson Reid
as Detective Black
Benjamin T. Gay
as Court Clerk
Mark Bednarz
as Effingham County Sheriff
Bill Cunningham
as Effingham County Sheriff
Chip Tootle
as Effingham County Sheriff
Sonny Shroyer
as Chatham County Sheriff
Mike Pniewski
as Chatham County Sheriff
L.H. Smith
as Storm Evacuee
Wren Arthur
as Barfly Robin
Vernon E. Jordan Jr.
as Larry Benjamin
Angela Costrini
as Barfly Wren
Gregory H. Alpert
as Barfly Clark
Lydia Marlene
as Tattooed Bartender
Jay S. Pearson
as Chatham County Sheriff
Jin Hi Soucy
as Huey's Patron
Richie Dye
as Huey's Patron
Chad Darnell
as Huey's Patron
Natalie Hendrix
as Television Anchorperson
Gregg Jarrett
as Television Anchorperson
Doug Weathers
as Television Anchorperson
Jeremy Cooper
as Television Weathercaster
Beth Eckard
as Television Weathercaster
Brad Huffines
as Television Weathercaster
Patrick Prokop
as Television Weathercaster
Mike Manhattan
as Television Field Reporter
David Jordan
as Television Field Reporter
George Lyndel Brannen
as Television Field Reporter
Gregory F. Pallone
as Television Field Reporter
Alice Stewart
as Television Field Reporter
Vanessa Young
as Television Field Reporter
Angela Beasley
as Puppeteer
Scott Troughton
as Dredge Worker
Grace Tootle
as Gas Station Attendant
Shane James
as Ricky Butch Banks
Herb Kelsey
as Doss Gang Member
William L. Thorp IV
as Doss Gang Member
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Critic Reviews for The Gingerbread Man

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (18)

Audience Reviews for The Gingerbread Man

  • Dec 07, 2012
    Altman even makes this look good. Plus the setting of Savannah helps. A great little performance from Robert Downey Jr. as well.
    Graham J Super Reviewer
  • May 05, 2011
    There is so much wrong with "The Gingerbread Man" that it's no wonder Robert Altman was threatening to disown the film upon it's release. After a bitter fight with Universal over, well, the entire outcome of the film, Altman's sensibilities as a director are scarcely recognizable. Still, the film wouldn't have even been that great if Altman had complete control. The story, from John Grisham, is uninteresting and just plain bizarre. The acting is ham fisted and all those cheesy southern accents don't help, either. From the lame title, to the outlandish yet strangely pedestrian narrative, "The Gingerbread Man" is one of Altman's worst films. But then again, can you even call this a Robert Altman film?
    Steven C Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 2011
    One of the more interesting films I've seen lately, The Gingerbread Man is an above-average thriller, made so by the excellent direction of Robert Altman, who creates a very atmospheric film. The problem is with the script, whose plot is not befitting of the cast or the direction, it simply becomes too muddled. Still, Atlman's direction and the performances of the always enjoyable Robert Downey Jr. and the fantastic Kenneth Branagh make it worth while.
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2010
    People suggested that Altman mailed one in for this film which was viewed as being an attempt to make some money with a mainstream film but I really enjoyed the effort. I still remember to this day the scene with Branagh crying. It was one of the most real instances on film that I have seen.
    John B Super Reviewer

The Gingerbread Man Quotes

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