There are many fine performances and sensitive moral issues contained in The Verdict but somehow that isn't enough to make it the compelling film it should be. David Mamet's script [from a novel by Barry Reed] offers little out of the ordinary.

There are many fine performances and sensitive moral issues contained in The Verdict but somehow that isn’t enough to make it the compelling film it should be. David Mamet’s script [from a novel by Barry Reed] offers little out of the ordinary.

Paul Newman is a cloudy-headed boozer who was at one time clearly a top junior lawyer but has been reduced to soliciting clients at funerals. Colleague Jack Warden hands him the case that could put him back on the straight and narrow.

A young woman lies in a respected Boston hospital – a vegetable thanks to a dose of anesthesia she received from doctors while delivering a baby. Her sister wants to sue the hospital and Catholic Church (which owns the facility) for a sum of money large enough to enable her to start a new life.

Newman becomes convinced the church and hospital have conspired to cover up medical malpractice.

While Newman’s drunk is a little difficult to take at the outset, he manages to weave an extraordinarily realistic portrayal by the film’s completion. He gets especially solid support from Warden and James Mason.

1982: Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Actor (Paul Newman), Supp. Actor (James Mason), Screenplay Adaptation

The Verdict

Production

20th Century-Fox/Zanuck-Brown. Director Sidney Lumet; Producer Richard D. Zanuck, David Brown; Screenplay David Mamet; Camera Andrzej Bartkowiak; Editor Peter Frank; Music Johnny Mandel; Art Director Edward Pisoni

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1982. Running time: 122 MIN.

With

Paul Newman Charlotte Rampling Jack Warden James Mason Milo O'Shea Edward Binns

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