Kenneth Branagh is Rick Magruder, a Savannah, Georgia, criminal lawyer who fancies himself a ladies' man. It's a lady--Embeth Davidtz's Mallory Doss--who lures Magruder into the mire of kidnapping and murder that passes for business-as-usual in Grisham's New South. The movie's plot is pretty much an open-and-shut case, but Altman refuses to see it that way. Like a magician, he distracts us from the story's weaknesses with whirls of cinematic hocus-pocus. The camerawork, which alternates between tricky pans and static long-shots, evokes both a prowler and a surveillance camera that tracks the prowler. Branagh is surprisingly effective as a noir sap who gets left out in the rain, but it's the rain--a movie-climaxing hurricane--that seems to have caught Altman's eye...and ear.