Mitch McDeere

Whenever I think of superheroes, I think of Batman and his ability to pass through the shadows undetected; Superman, and his power to repel bullets; Captain America and his super strength; Iron Man and his flare with a super suit; and finally, Black Widow, who is an expert at stealth and deception.

Tom Cruise as Mitch McDeere
Tom Cruise as Mitch McDeere

And whenever I think of heroes—movie heroes—I think of the ones people would least likely chose. For instance, Ray Kinsella fits perfectly in the mix as the farmer who builds a baseball field in the middle of nowhere in the film Field of Dreams. And then there’s Lester Burnham who rebels against a midlife crisis to find his way back in the drama American Beauty.

But of all the fictional heroes I enjoy watching over and over again on the small screen, Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise) of the film The Firm has to be the most fascinating of them all.

For those wondering who Mitch McDeere is—he’s one of the top Ivy League graduates of his class, lands a position at the prestigious law firm Bendini, Lambert and Locke in Memphis, and is a faithful husband to a beautiful wife.

Tom Cruise is Mitch McDeere
Tom Cruise is Mitch McDeere

During the time of his recruitment, the firm offers him a position as a junior lawyer. They don’t stop there. They give him a brand new Porsche, which he chooses black as its color, a new house to live in at the cost of a no-interest loan, a new office complete with his own secretary, and all sorts of other delights I can’t remember offhand, but I’m sure they are also top of the line frills.

Everything seems perfect to Mitch. The perfect wife. The perfect car. The perfect house. And the perfect job.

What Mitch doesn’t know, however, is all that goodness comes at a price.

The first thing to go is his time with his wife. He’s the first to show up at work and the last to leave. He works on weekends and doesn’t have the time to even study for the bar exam, which, incidentally, the firm guarantees he will pass if he maintains the strenuous pace he’s been following.

Of course, there’s one thing the firm didn’t tell him, and that’s the fact that they will supply all the rewards, luxuries and services, but in return Mitch is theirs. The firm integrates with every aspect of his life from his professional life as a lawyer to personal life, picking the furniture that goes into his home. What’s more? The firm takes an active interest in ensuring they have their hooks in him completely by encouraging him to have a child. In their view, he’s less likely to leave if he has a family to look after.

Now, before you begin thinking that Mitch got a raw deal and can’t get out, which I happen to agree with, he devises a plan. The thing is, the plan is so intricate and so complex, that he becomes that which he never thought he’d become—an enemy of the firm.

When I think of Mitch McDeere, I think of a character trapped in a life that looked great on the outside, but rotten to the core on the inside. It took him time to figure that out and a resolve few people possess. Yet, when he did figure it out, he escaped his old life and began anew. A new life. A new identity. And a new goal that doesn’t lead to a superficial victory.

Mitch McDeere is today’s Wednesday Warrior.

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Have you seen The Firm? What do you think about Mitch McDeere?

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7 thoughts on “Mitch McDeere

  1. Good explication, Jack. I’ve never seen the film or read the book. I go more for police procedurals, horror (Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon, in particular), mysteries, or mystery comedy (Murder by Death; movie, not the band) if I’m watching or reading in the suspense/thriller genre. Can’t picture Cruise as a “Mitch,” though. Names are so hard to do, sometimes, though, along with titles (both are my sore spots, I think, but esp. titles). I like the pun of “the firm”; kudos on that, Mr. Grisham.

    • It’s one of those stories where the villain is not readily identifiable. It also presents one of those interesting paradigms where there really isn’t a pop of gold at the end of the rainbow–at least a pot of gold without any strings attached. I enjoyed how the film escalates from the simple to the complex. Absolute genius.

  2. When I saw this film at the cinema, there was a scene towards the end when one of the firm’s clients walks in and meets Mitch. I said to my friend ‘spot the gangster’ and it brought the house the down!

  3. good movie and good book. I like the guy who rebels against society and yells out the window, :”I will not take it anymore” Totally inane and accomplishes nothing but it is primal scream at its best.

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