Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Verdict

We watched another classic movie, "The Verdict". Paul Newman stars as a lawyer, who is down on his luck, and who suddenly grows a conscience.

It is a beautiful portrayal of how the justice system can fail despite the best efforts of people.  Paul Newman plays the part wonderfully: he is despondent at the beginning, unable to get his career started again.  As the movie proceeds, you realize that he isn't exactly down on his luck, that he has been given the short end of the stick by the "system".

The entire story is riveting: in one way you know that the good guys should win in the end, but it keeps you engaged and guessing.  You can see that Newman is trying really hard, and that he is facing long odds.  Through the movie, you're left wondering if he will succeed, and what will tip the scales.

The Verdict is directed by Sidney Lumet, who also directed the superb drama in "12 Angry Men".  Both movies are fairly thought-provoking, and both are about the legal system.

Another thing that set "The Verdict" apart was the ending.  Recent movies have focussed on one-sided endings with no margin for subtlety.  In complete contrast, the ending of "The Verdict" was subtle and nuanced, and it allowed the entire movie to shine.  Despite its name, and despite being a courtroom drama, the movie was never about the final decision.