Black SplatA Time to Kill (1996)

"I hope they burn in hell!"

A Time to Kill - Carl Lee Hailey on trial for murder

Description: Impassioned statement of Samuel L. Jackson as blue-collar father Carl Lee Hailey on trial for murder in the racially tense movie A Time to Kill (1996).

After his 10-year-old daughter Tonya (Rae’ven Kelly) is raped and beaten by two, low-life, beer-drinking good-old boys ("racist rednecks"), Hailey takes justice into his own hand and shots them down in the Clanton, Mississippi courthouse on the day of their arraignments.

A Time to Kill - Carl Hailey carries his raped 10-year-old daughter

Arrested for murder, Carl admits to his lawyer Jake Tyler Brigance (Matthew McConaughey), "I didn't have anything against those boys until they messed with my baby, but I'm not sorry for what I done."

At his trial, the prosecutor Rufus Buckley (Kevin Spacey) pushes Carl for an answer to "Did they deserve to die?" The distraught Hailey erupts violently, "Yes, they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!"

Carl's actions were fueled by the fact that a year before, four other white boys raped a young black girl and got off without any jail time.

"America is a war and you are on the other side. How's a black man ever going to get a fair trial with the enemy on the bench and in the jury box?. My life in white hands? You Jake, that's how. You are my secret weapon because you are one of the bad guys. You don't mean to be but you are. It's how you was raised. Nigger, negro, black, African-american, no matter how you see me, you see me different, you see me like that jury sees me, you are them. Now throw out your points of law Jake. If you was on that jury, what would it take to convince you to set me free? That's how you save my ass. That's how you save us both."

For defending Hailey, his lawyer is called a "Negro loving pig" by a faction of Ku Klux Klan supporters. Freddie Cobb (Kiefer Sutherland) the brother of one of the murdered rapists later contacts the Klan because he wants to "Kill that nigger."

Reminiscing about the good old days, Cobb muses, "10 years ago, that nigger be hanging from a tree with his cock in his mouth."

A Time to Kill - Ku Klux Klan on the march

Before the trial, all hell breaks out in town: representatives of the NAACP and the Ku Klux Klan clash in front of the courthouse; a black teenager kills the KKK Grand Dragon (Kurtwood Smith) with a Molotov cocktail; the Klan burn crosses throughout the area, one of which, burns down Jake's house; The National Guard is called in to keep the peace; and Ellen Roark (Sandra Bullock), an ACLU law student assisting Carl's attorney is assaulted by Freddie Cobb who, before knocking her out, says:

"You can't blame a nigger for being a nigger, no more than you can blame a dog for being a dog. But a whore like you, co-mingling with mongrels, betraying your own. That makes you worse than a nigger. I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll leave you tied up here naked. First, it'll just be bugs eating at ya. One day, maybe two. That sun's gonna be cooking you. And animals... they're gonna pick on your stink. They'll come looking for something to eat."

Amidst all of this turmoil, lawyer Jake Tyler Brigance makes his final summation in court with hopes of getting justice for his client.

"I want to tell you a story. I'm going to ask you all to close your eyes while I tell you the story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves. Go ahead. Close your eyes, please. This is a story about a little girl walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon. I want you to picture this little girl. Suddenly a truck races up. Two men jump out and grab her. They drag her into a nearby field and they tie her up and they rip her clothes from her body. Now they climb on. First one, then the other, raping her, shattering everything innocent and pure with a vicious thrust in a fog of drunken breath and sweat. And when they're done, after they've killed her tiny womb, murdered any chance for her to have children, to have life beyond her own, they decide to use her for target practice. They start throwing full beer cans at her. They throw them so hard that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones. Then they urinate on her. Now comes the hanging. They have a rope. They tie a noose. Imagine the noose going tight around her neck and with a sudden blinding jerk she's pulled into the air and her feet and legs go kicking. They don't find the ground. The hanging branch isn't strong enough. It snaps and she falls back to the earth. So they pick her up, throw her in the back of the truck and drive out to Foggy Creek Bridge. Pitch her over the edge. And she drops some thirty feet down to the creek bottom below. Can you see her? Her raped, beaten, broken body soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her blood, left to die. Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl. Now imagine she's white."

The jury returns the verdict that is delivered to the crowd outside of the courthouse by an African-American child, who screams, "He's not guilty!"

A few days later, Jake, his wife and daughter visit Carl who is having a cookout, and Jake says "Just thought our kids could play together."

Note: Based on the novel "A Time to Kill" (1989) by John Grisham, the title of the book refers to the biblical passage from Ecclesiastes 3. 1-8 that begins: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up..."

A Time to Kill - Movie Poster

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