Past Movie Review: The Verdict


In terms of a great legal drama, in my opinion “The Verdict”, released in 1982 is the best ever. A brilliant screenplay by David Mamet and a story about the real life world of bad people and money against working class hard working people and a pregnant woman who was the victim of medical malpractice. In 1982 the critics were calling this great movie a Rocky story for the legal profession. I consider this one comment the best summary about what this movie is all about. Doctors who worked for a church owned hospital in the Boston area made a series of egregious errors when a pregnant woman was admitted and she went into a coma and was irreparably brain damaged. Through lies, payoffs and legal cheating, the rich law firm hired to defend the doctors cared less about the woman in a coma, only about the reputation of the hospital and the amount of money they would be paid.

This movie stars Paul Newman and without a doubt it was his best performance in a career where he won only one Oscar for “The Color of Money” and was nominated 7 times. Why he did not win for this outstanding performance as Frank Galvin, a down on his luck alcoholic lawyer is a travesty. The lead lawyer of the law firm defending the hospital is James Mason in an outstanding performance as the rich head of a law firm who would do anything to win a case, regardless of the circumstances. The direction of this film by Sidney Lumet is also great and one scene that stands out is a key turning point in the film was told wordlessly in an overhead shot where Galvin just backed up on a street looking at his friend in disbelief over what he just heard him say about his girlfriend. This is genius screenwriting and film making because so much more can be said by just actions and no dialogue.

The Verdict is an outstanding film that should seen by everyone.

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