Lumet taps Diesel for return to courtroom drama

Find Me Guilty

on March 17, 2006 by Richard Mowe
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For his first film in six years, veteran Sidney Lumet returns to the legal territory on which he has built much of his reputation ( 12 Angry Men, The Verdict, Dog Day Afternoon ). Based on what was the longest trial in U.S. courtroom history, in which 20 members of the Lucchese family from New Jersey were prosecuted on 76 criminal charges, the action in time-honored fashion stays on the court precincts.

Lumet orchestrates the machinations with the confidence of a master, but even he cannot quite manage to sustain the interest for the protracted arguments to run their course. The main defendant, Giaocomo “Jackie Dee” DiNorscio, is played by Vin Diesel in a showy performance that begins to grate after awhile. After a dispute he decides to be his own attorney, giving Diesel the chance to run the gamut of jokes, innuendos and verbal attacks on anyone who strays in to his field of vision as he sets out to prove he's “not a gangster but a gagster.” Among his sparring partners is Linus Roache as Sean Kierney, the dour-faced federal prosecutor, and judge Finestein (Ron Silver) whose patience is tested to the limit by the unconventional circus being played out before him. Annabella Sciorra appears briefly but effectively as Dee's wife.

The Diesel fan club certainly get their dollars' worth of the star strutting his stuff while lovers of legal tussles will warm to the cut and thrust. Others may find it overstays its welcome by about 30 minutes.

Distributor: Freestyle
Cast: Vin Diesel, Linus Roache, Ron Silver, Alex Rocco, Annabella Sciorra and Peter Dinklage
Director: Sidney Lumet
Screenwriters: Sidney Lumet and T.J. Mancinci & Robert J. McCrea
Producers: T.J. Mancini, Bob Yari, Robert Greenhut, Bob DeBrino and George “Zakk” Vitetzakis
Genre: Drama
Rating: R for strong language and some violence
Running time: 123 min.
Release date: March 17, 2006

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