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The Verdict (CE)
DVD disk
06.15.2007 By: Sturdy
The Verdict (CE) order
Director:
Sidney Lumet

Actors:
Paul Newman
Charlotte Rampling
Jack Warden

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An aging, alcoholic lawyer gets a case thatís a sure, big money settlement. However, after doing some research, he feels the moral obligation to help his client get the most she can out of her case.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I think sometimes the younger generation forgets just how great of an actor Paul Newman was. Every time I see him in one of his older films, I get reminded of how effortless he makes his acting look. He truly is one of the best of all time and THE VERDICT is one more example of how great he was.

The film itself has a very familiar ring to it. It plays out much like a John Grisham novel without as many twists. The once great lawyer has to redeem himself against a conglomerate of a big, corporate law firm. That basic premise was the idea of THE RAINMAKER and several others. Although the story isnít going to blow your mind or gives you anything you havenít seen before, it rolls along pretty well and offers plenty to keep you interested.

Sidney Lumet was right in picking Paul Newman to star in this film. A lesser actor would have been lost with the amount of responsibility Newman was given. He was trusted to deliver every scene and carry every plot point. Of course, Newman is more than capable of that, but I would have liked a little bit more focus on the other characters. There were a few supporting roles that could have been explored more and that would have helped out the film.

However, my number one biggest complaint about this film was the background music. I donít think Iíve ever heard a score that was as out of place as this one. There would be scenes of characters just sitting around talking and the background music would be going as if we were watching a horror movie. Iím not sure what Johnny Mandel or Sidney Lumet were thinking when it came to scoring the film.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with Sidney Lumet and Paul Newman: Iíve never heard a Paul Newman commentary track, so I was excited to hear him and Sidney Lumet sit down and talk about their film. Unfortunately, they werenít sitting in the room together and thereís very little of Paul Newman. Sidney Lumet gives a few details, but there are way too many pauses and this one ends up being a little rough to get through.

Paul Newman, The Craft of Acting (8:45): This looks like a new featurette with Paul Newman and he talks about his character and the different things he did with the character and the motivations behind hose actions. If youíre a Newman fan, youíll like this.

Milestones in Cinema History: The Verdict (23:14): Although there were way too many movie scenes, I liked how they got some of the lesser-known actors to take part in it. My biggest problem is that they didnít include David Mamet in the featurette. He did, after all, write the script.

Sidney Lumet, The Craft of Directing (10:46): This is very similar to the one with Newman, but this time with Lumet. This is also pretty good with a lot more information about the film. However, itís a little repetitive after watching the commentary track.

Making of Featurette (9:06): This is a dated featurette that features old interviews with Newman and some of the other actors. Itís ok, but itís not going to give you too much new information.

Hollywood Backstories (22:06): This actually had more information about the film than any of the other featurettes combined. Iíve never actually scene one of these before, but it was really good, with good insight.

There are also some Previews
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Despite the bad score and a few underused, minor characters, THE VERDICT was an enjoyable film with great performances. Newmanís greatness shouldnít be overlooked and this film is one of the many films that we can remind ourselves how great he was.
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