The Verdict (1982)
March 19, 2020 5:58 PM - Subscribe

Frank Galvin Has One Last Chance At A Big Case. The doctors want to settle, the Church wants to settle, their lawyers want to settle, and even his own clients are desperate to settle. But Galvin is determined to defy them all. He will try the case.

Wikipedia's intro:
The Verdict is a 1982 American legal drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and written by David Mamet from Barry Reed's novel of the same name. It stars Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Milo O'Shea, and Lindsay Crouse. In the story, a down-on-his-luck alcoholic lawyer accepts a medical malpractice case to improve his own situation, but discovers along the way that he is doing the right thing.

The Verdict garnered critical acclaim and box office success. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Actor in a Leading Role (Paul Newman), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (James Mason), Best Director (Sidney Lumet), Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay (David Mamet).

Ebert's review, very positive, but one of those where Roger interprets something the wrong way.
Janet Maslin is positive as well, though she thinks it is a little slow in places.

Be sure to look for Bruce Willis and Tobin Bell as extras in the final courtroom scene.

Poster's thoughts:
Paul over Ben, definitely. Ben Kingsley is a great actor and his Gandhi is great work, but he doesn't inhabit the character like Paul Newman does Galvin. I was reading the comments on a video at Youtube for this post and someone mentioned the shot where Paul has a shot of whiskey and his hands are shaking, so he puts it down on the bar and bends over to sip it. Direction by Lumet? A choice by Newman? Either way, little things like that bring Galvin to life.
posted by Fukiyama (5 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
One of my favorite films. WHO WERE THESE MEN.
posted by thelonius at 1:24 AM on March 20, 2020

Time for a rewatch
posted by growabrain at 2:05 AM on March 20, 2020

Oh yes. I will always remember Newman in the scene where he visits the woman in what is basically a warehouse for coma victims. He goes in all worldly-wise and cynical and ready to make a quick buck, but there's a moment when he actually *sees* her. You can see his whole world changing with just a few small movements, and that perfect delivery of "She's my client." in answer to an orderly's question.
posted by Mogur at 5:03 AM on March 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

Galvin's summation speech, delivered in one unbroken take of nearly four minutes, is just a masterclass in screenwriting (Mamet), acting (Newman), and direction (Lumet). It is just so poetic and abstract, lacking any of the cliches we associate with typical courtroom dramas. And the moment when Newman finally makes eye contact with the jury and says "But today, you are the law" and Lumet starts that slow zoom in to his face -- well, it just gives me goosebumps every time. A great movie.
posted by How the runs scored at 4:58 PM on March 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

One of my favorite scenes in all of cinema is when Frank confronts Charlotte Rampling's Laura after discovering she was the opposition's honeypot. As he approaches her in the bar, we the audience are primed for some heated Mamet dialogue. Instead, he simply decks her. She then waves off the outsiders' concern, basically admitting that she had it coming. And scene. Wow.
posted by whuppy at 6:38 PM on March 22, 2020

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