American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Rob Reiner's "A Few Good Men" is one of those movies that tells you what it's going to do, does it, and then tells you what it did.
It doesn't think the audience is very bright. There is a scene that is absolutely wrong. In it, a lawyer played by Tom Cruise previews his courtroom strategy to his friends. The strategy then works as planned - which means that an element of surprise is missing from the most important moment in the movie, and the key scene by Jack Nicholson is undermined - robbed of suspense, and made inevitable.
That's a shame, because in many ways this is a good film, with the potential to be even better than that. The flaws are mostly at the screenplay level; the film doesn't make us work, doesn't allow us to figure out things for ourselves, is afraid we'll miss things if they're not spelled out.
The story is based on fact, as transmuted into a Broadway play by Aaron Sorkin. A Marine at the Guantanamo Naval Air Station, in Cuba, dies after a hazing incident. Two young Marines are charged with the death, but a nosy Navy legal ace in Washington (Demi Moore) suspects there's more to the story, and wants to investigate. She's prodded by her own superior to assign a lazy Navy lawyer (Cruise) to the case, perhaps because he has an unblemished record of settling out of court, and can be counted on to handle the case without generating public embarrassment.