Writer: David Mamet (Screenplay) Barry Reed (Novel)
Starring: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Mile O’Shea, Lindsay Crouse, Edward Binns, Julie Bovasso, Roxanne Hart
Plot: A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Story: The Verdict starts as we see how Frank Galvin (Newman) a lawyer who drinks himself through each day after finding his once promising career turned into ambulance chasing. When Frank gets given a medical malpractice case he could get an easy settlement against the hospital for the Doneghy family, but when he sees the condition the victim is in Frank decides to take the case to trial to redeem him career.
When the family learns that Frank turned down a brilliant financial deal they are furious but Frank having dug this hole must go ahead with his decision with the help of his former partner Mickey Morrissey (Warden) as they plan to go up against the most feared lawyer in the business Ed Concannon (Mason).
The Verdict is a courtroom drama that shows one man going into a court case that could redeem his career even if it is against the odds. The story is pretty simple to follow as the court case is easy to follow and there aren’t any twists involving the case. The story is everything you would like in the genre without every trying to be more.
Paul Newman: Frank Galvin is a former promising lawyer who has hit the drink as his practise has almost gone. When his former partner offers him an easy settlement case Frank takes things to the next level as he wants to take it on in court proving the full medical malpractice suit. Paul gives us a brilliant performance as the man on both sides of his life.
Charlotte Rampling: Laura Fischer comes into Frank’s life seeing that he is still a good man inside searching for the truth. She keeps his mind away from the drink, but her true nature could put the whole case up in the air. Charlotte is good in this role without getting the full screen time for the characters twist.
Jack Warden: Mickey Morrissey is the former partner and friend of Frank who gives him the case but when he learns that Frank wants to take it to trial he gets to work with the lawyer side of the Frank he has missed for years. Jack is good in this role being the important character for Frank.
James Mason: Ed Concannon is the opposing lawyer that is feared in the law community as he always gets the results. He is fair in the courtroom but will play the games outside of it. James is great in this role even if we don’t see all of his side of the case.
Support Cast: The Verdict has a supporting cast that deals with different sides of the story when it comes to dealing with the case, each member works for how the story unfolds.
Director Review: Sidney Lumet – Sidney gives us a courtroom drama that tackles the sensitive subject for the time the film was made.
Drama: The Verdict shows one man trying to redeem himself by taking on the case that could easily change how this law was looked at.
Settings: The Verdict keeps everything in location in which we would see the case put together next to where the case would happen. This keeps everything simple throughout without adding any unrequired scenes.
Suggestion: The Verdict is one I do think all the true cinema fans over the casual fans, should see at least once. (Watch)
Best Part: Newman’s performance.
Worst Part: Might be slightly slow for the modern cinema audience.
Believability: This could have been a real court case.
Chances of Tears: No
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: Nominated for 5 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Director.
Box Office: $54 Million
Budget: $16 Million
Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes
Overall: Classic courtroom drama.