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Enjoyable courtroom drama with great acting.
Putting aside that there's a commentary about a black doctor and Jewish doctors and the portrayal of the female character is clearly misogynistic, I don't quite get how this movie is so critically acclaimed. Newman's character had no case throughout the movie, then the one fact that proved his case was stricken from the record, yet he still wins. I suppose it was a great summation and he talked about the justice system being about the jurors, who represent the people. But, I found it kind of unintentionally humorous that at the very end of his eloquent speech, he just drops his head, walks back to his seat, and you feel like his body language and the abrupt ending of the speech was saying "why even bother." Overall, I'd say don't even bother watching this movie. Better court room dramas are A Few Good Men and of course the classic To Kill a Mockingbird.
A mature courtroom drama full of masterfully nuanced performances.
Sidney Lumet's The Verdict (1982) is a natural depiction of a lawyers fighting their case with or without ethics. Lumet returns to form in the courtroom after his classic 12 Angry Men (1957) with The Verdict. Lumet's smooth direction gives The Verdict a grounded quality. The problems are all gritty and down to Earth. The Verdict is as real down to the mundane aspects of the courts.
David Mamet's script for The Verdict takes on corruption of judicial figures, corruption within The Catholic Church, miscarriage of justice, doctoral malpractice, and criminal negligence with a scathing critical lens from Lumet. All the issues within the judicial and medical industries are put on full display due to Lumet's careful camera placement and dedication to depicting good lawyer work.
Johnny Mandel's score is a subtle composition of classical music that brings out the seedy darkness of the law world. He keeps it quiet until the score suddenly rouses into a moody accompaniment of sorrow around Paul Newman's failures as a lawyer.
Paul Newman sheds his cool exterior to play Frank Galvin, who is the broken and defeated alcoholic lawyer on his last case. Newman is remarkably understated that makes The Verdict age well into a thoughtful piece on doing the right thing as a lawyer. Newman's closing statement speech is a neat choice of heartfelt honesty as he opts not to go for the impassioned speech declaring his client in the right. Newman instead keeps it classy and genuine that plays to pathos and emotions to do the right thing in the face of adversity. He made a logical and fair case and gave it his all in a performance you must see. Newman's stumbling around drunk is very fun as it is troubling, while Newman simultaneously establishes his character as the lawyer to root for in the end.
On the other hand, James Mason is phenomenal as the cheating lawyer with ghastly underhanded policies in his nuanced and calm performance as Ed Concannon. His villainy is present despite his charming persona. His careful politicking around reveals his cruel and unethical abuses of his office as a lawyer. Mason is brilliant as ever regardless of his older age. James Mason is the perfect foil for Paul Newman in The Verdict.
Jack Warden's supporting role as Mickey is as realistic and endearing as a portrayal of a friend and good lawyer as film gets. Milo O'Shea's irreverent and crooked Judge Hoyle is despicable and disturbing to watch his brazen abuses of his office.
Lastly, I must mention the young and lovely Charlotte Rampling in an incredibly complex role as Laura Fischer. Her moody personality and blunt speech makes Laura the ultimate femme fatale. Her character's twists are unpredictable as I did not see them coming. I especially appreciate the realistic ending Lumet chose for Newman and Rampling. Charlotte Rampling has always been an actress to watch and appreciate excellence in realistically nuanced acting. She is simply divinely blessed in her craft.
I loved The Verdict for its lack of hand holding in how mature and respectful Lumet treats his audience. You follow the case exactly as Newman experienced every sudden hope and disillusioned crash. The courtroom has never felt so tense and uncertain as it exists within The Verdict!
Paul Newman's performance is a master class in acting, his performance is unforgettable. Sydney Lumet's direction, the cinematography, David Mamet's dialog along with the entire cast are great but they all are elevated by Newman's performance. The Verdict is one of my favorite movies and its so interesting to see the life portrayed in 1982, its like another world compared to 2018. Smoking in airports, court houses and office buildings, a stranger freely approaching a pre-school teacher with her class, it all seems so strange. Paul Newman should have won the Oscar for Best Actor and James Mason the Oscar for Best Supporting actor. Everything about this movie is outstanding. Enjoy!
A patient character study mixed with a smart courtroom drama. Taut, smart, steady, quiet, palpable and powerful, with performances that are perfect and natural from top to bottom. A worth classic about justice and redemption.
Great film highlighting the corrupt influence and practice of the church with a great performance from the legend himself Paul Newman.
A solid movie, but suffers a bit from its low-key Sydney Lumet filmmaking style that just doesn't work as well now 35 years later.
A well crafted and performed court room drama. While it may not bring anything new to the genre it does everything well and is carried by a solid performance from Paul Newman.
This is a solid courtroom drama with a strong cast, including screen legends Paul Newman, James Mason, and Jack Warden. Paul Newman masterfully plays the underdog "ambulance chaser" attorney with a secret heart of gold. He does a great job of being detestable in the beginning and an even better job of redeeming himself later on. James Mason nailed the role of the morally-challenged defense attorney looking to make a quick buck. I can definitely see this movie being boring for people with a short attention span, as the movie is somewhat legalistic and intentionally slow-paced. I must admit it that I didn't find this movie interesting until about 25 minutes in. I am glad I stuck to it.
Paul Newman is incredible in this. Jack Warren is solid as the rumbled mentor turned assistant. It's slow & plodding at times, but a quality work, for certain.