The Verdict (1982) Short Review

Sidney Lumet’s The Verdict captures a character’s feelings of emptiness about as well as any movie I’ve seen. Paul Neuman is believable as a man at the end of his rope emotionally, physically and spiritually.

He appears at the brink of mental breakdown as he takes on the case that challenges him to do the right thing. The strength of the film is Newman’s frayed emotional performance (as well as James Mason’s cold ‘Prince Of Darkness’) managing to entertain without resorting to Hollywood action sequences or gratuity.

It’s NOT as good as Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (which also featured the late, incomparable Jack Warden), but the director certainly gets the most out of otherwise passive moments. He can film book reading in a way that keeps the viewer interested. The film has some flaws in the handling of some court scenes for dramatic purposes, but it’s not enough to detract from a really great film. Made it onto my 10 Best Films of 1982 and my 100 Best of the 1980s.

4.5 of 5



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