The Verdict

1982, Movie, R, 129 mins


This powerful study of a man's fight to regain his dignity features a fine performance from Paul Newman as failed attorney Frank Galvin. He takes on a seemingly open-and-shut case of malpractice, in which a woman lapsed into a coma while having a baby, the apparent victim of a mistake by an anesthesiologist at a prominent Catholic hospital in Boston. At first willing to take a settlement for the victim's family, Galvin realizes after visiting the comatose woman that he should put up a fight on her behalf. Up against the powerful Catholic establishment of Boston, he works to build a case, and, with it, renewed self-respect. He is also battling his dependence on alcohol, another reason behind his downfall. Newman's portrayal of his character is a sympathetic and totally candid performance. Every wart shows, from his alcoholism to the ill-prepared opening statement he delivers in a nervous stammer to the packed courtroom. Small moments come across as something special, and the actor received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his performance. Sidney Lumet directs effectively, keeping the tension strong, and unfolding David Mamet's intelligent screenplay slowly but with maximum impact. leave a comment

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