Citizen Verdict Reviews
The idea is good though ...
If one can suspend disbelief to accept that a capital case could at any time in the near future be tried by popular vote on TV--and you have to suspend your disbelief, because this film is askingto be taken very seriously--"Citizen Vertict" could have been an excellent film, no matter where you fall on the issue of the death penalty.
I say "could have been excellent," because setting aside the fact that even the film's basic premise is completely implausible in a world that appears to be no further away than the day after tomorrow--we're talking about a country where proud terrorists aren't convicted, and lawyers talk about how OJ Simpson was set up, despite the fact he admits to committing robbery--"Citizen Verdict" is simply too sloppily made to be truly entertaining. The story is full of holes and stray elements that are left unexplored or undeveloped, the motivations of most of the main characters remain vague even at the end, and not enough thought was put into costume design and story continuity.
It's that last bit that really ruins the film. There is some very nice and stylistic cinematography that switches back and forth between what we are "seeing" on TV and what the all-seeing eye of the movie camera is catching, but the setup is ruined by "citizen reactions" that supposedly show the changing outlook of people over time... but they're always wearing the same clothes. I can see interviews happening at the exact same spot, but would the subjects truly be dressed the same?
If the director had paid more atteniton to the little things, and if the script had gone through another draft or two, this could have been a good movie. The cast does an excellent job and the film is very neat sylistically, but it's just a little too sloppily put together to rate any higher than the bottom end of average. It's worth seeing, but it's not worth going out of your way for.
Starring: Armand Assante, Raffaello Degruttola, Jerry Springer, Justine Mitchell, and Roy Scheider
Director: Philippe Martinez