THIS IS THE PILOT FOR AN AMERICAN TV-series which received much attention in the US. It's a realistically oriented law-series taking place in and around the hallways of the judicial system. At the center is Jack Shannon, a former top-lawyer who's lost his job and his family. When he returns to his profession he does so under slightly different circumstances. His experiences from the back-alleys of society has made him conscious that clients of lesser means rarely get a chance in the legal machinery. Through negotiations and interventions he tries to help his clients get their settlements outside of court. Award winning screenplay by John Sayles. Music by the trumpet player Wynton Marsalis. Comment:JACK SHANNON IS A NEW KIND of TV-hero. Despite being a lawyer he doesn't mainly act within the court room, like Perry Mason or the ''angels'' in L.A. Law, but in the street. He carries the attributes of the worn-out private eye, and has learned more from Philip Marlowe than from the penal code. Shannon's adventures bring a couple of central motifs in American mythology to the fore. First of all, the relativity of law itself. The lawyer and former district attorney Endicott in Chandler's The Long Goodbye at one point says the following to Marlowe: ''The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right button and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be.'' These words - wisely used as the motto for a doctoral dissertation in sociology earlier this year - reflect a harsh clear-sightedness concerning the conditions of the law, permeating the American crime novel since at least the 30's. Power is the foundation of the Law. Yet another aspect to be treated is the corruption of the nation's heart, in Washington, FBI and CIA, yes even in the Oval Room. Three Days of the Condor, All the President's Men - both support the image of a conspiracy where Power manipulates Law, plants evidences, creates false testimonies and imprisons the innocent in order to conceal the real crimes. Many American crime movies tell the story about this crime only - the one against the innocence of the nation. The guilty are never prosecuted here because they're always judges themselves. Jack Shannon holds on to his motley past with both irony and cynicism. James Sheridan's way of portraying him is based on a distancing way of speaking; as if it was the fiction he commented on and its relation to reality. This is emphasized by Wynton Marsalis' sad trumpet, guiding the mood of both characters and scenes, and the slanted light through blinds, the half smoked cigarettes hanging from the corner of the mouths and the recurring poker-games. Within this framework Shannon can move in a sometimes unpredictable way, as if he was a hero of our time. Maybe that's why we cannot know whether history repeats itself as tragedy or farce this time. _ LARS GUSTAF ANDERSSON

Shannon's Deal
Lewis Teague
120 min
American Independents
Jamey Sheridan, Elisabeth Pena
John Sayles, Stan Rogow
John Sayles
Wynton Marsalis
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