"They came for human drama. We've given them three months of geology lessons," pleads desperate attorney Jan Schlichtmann (John Travolta) on behalf of his jury. He could be speaking for the audience. Courtroom dramas that favor the courtroom over the
drama are always in danger of eye-glazing dullness. And the sad irony is that the more closely filmmakers try to hew to the truth of legal procedures and protocol, the less compelling the results tend to be. Good and serious intentions abound in Steven Zaillian's very faithful adaptation of
Jonathan Harr's nonfiction best-seller A Civil Action,
which chronicles Schlichtmann's eight-year battle with mega-corporat...