Synopsis by Mark Deming
Based on a novel by John Grisham, this drama deals with a man trying to come to terms with his family and their ugly secrets. Adam Hall (Chris O'Donnell) is a successful attorney based in Chicago who travels to Mississippi to look into the case of Sam Cayhall (Gene Hackman). An outspoken racist and member of the Ku Klux Klan, Cayhall was convicted in the early '60s of the murder of a Jewish civil rights lawyer and his children. Pending a last-minute appeal, it looks as if Cayhall will finally go to the electric chair, and Adam has arrived to see what he can do. It hardly seems like the sort of case Adam would normally be involved with, until we discover Adam's secret: he is actually Cayhall's grandson, and despite his misgivings about the man's racist views, he wants to see if he can spare his life. Cayhall, however, has little use for Adam and even less regard for his legal skills. As Adam spends time with his Aunt Lee (Faye Dunaway), who witnessed Cayhall's execution of a black man years ago, he gets a more complete and disturbing picture of Cayhall's race hatred and the terrible toll it has taken on his family and the community. The Chamber marked the acting debut of former baseball and football star Bo Jackson.
bomb, celebrity, courtroom, execution, family, family-secrets, killing, KKK (Ku Klux Klan), racism, regret, roots [origins], terrorism