Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Verdict

The Verdict; Drama, USA, 1982; D: Sidney Lumet, S: Paul Newman, Jack Warden, Charlotte Rampling, James Mason, Milo O'Shea

Frank Galvin is a washed up middle aged lawyer who randomly attends funerals to give people his visit card. His friend Mickey gives him a new case: 4 years ago, Deborah Ann Kay landed in coma after two doctors gave her wrong anesthetics and her sister now wants to sue the hospital to settle and get some money in order to leave the town with her husband. But Frank surprisingly refuses the 210.000 $ offer and decides to go to court. When the trial starts, everything goes wrong: his key witness can't be found and his girlfriend Laura turns out to be spying for the rival lawyer, Ed Concannon . But, by pure luck, Frank finds the nurse who wrote Deborah's chart and who accuses the doctor of changing the time the patient last ate from 1 hour to 9. The jury rules in favor of Frank.

"The Verdict" is a quality trial drama that manages to once again escape from the trap of a boring bureaucratic essay and find actual suspense and intrigue that effect the viewers who observe the events in the courtroom. The first half is slightly slow and many scenes seem sloppy and placed there without a clear order, yet once the actual trial starts in the second half it really ignites and offers some substantial stuff. There are a few neat ideas thrown in here and there, like when the sloppy anti-hero plays a pinball machine to symbolize how he always plays with his fate like in a game, and despite the fact that the story is somehow too dry and too proper to really catch the vibe of greatness of a higher frequency, the direction by Sidney Lumet is extremely competent, the moral of the story isn't easy and thus applies to the adult audience since it displays a case of an evil committed where there is no real bad guys since it was an accident while Paul Newman's performance is once again fantastic, for which he was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe, whereas Jack Warden's performance is equally as good as as his amusing "sidekick".


1 comment:

humanobserver said...

paul newman was simply brilliant in the movie.......