Media Life Crisis Blog

PopGap #22: The Verdict (1982)

When I last reviewed The Verdict — 15 or so years ago upon its DVD release — I gave it two stars, lambasting David Mamet's weak and unconvincing script, and Newman's dull performance. (Click here to see my review from 1989!) I saw it a bit differently this time around.

dorrk, Monday, 12 December 2016 23:27","text_style":"meta","text_align":"center"}}]}, {"name": "","type": "column","props": {"image_position": "center-center","widths": [""]},"children": [{"name": "Media Links","type": "button","props": {"gutter": "small","margin": "default","button_size": "small","text_align": "right"},"children": [{"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "","icon_align": "left","content": "Video","link": "#watchvideo","link_target": true,"link_title": "Watch Video","icon": "youtube"}},{"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "","icon_align": "left","content": "Pics","link": "#gallery","link_target": true,"link_title": "Image Gallery","icon": "thumbnails"}},{"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "","icon_align": "left","content": "Discuss","link": "https://letterboxd.com/dorrk/film/the-verdict-1982/","link_target": true,"link_title": "Comments","icon": "comments"}},{"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "","icon_align": "left","content": "","link": "#the-footer","link_target": true,"link_title": "","icon": "arrow-down"}}]}]}]}]}, {"name": "Main","type": "section","props": {"style": "default","width": "default","image_position": "center-center","padding_remove_top": true,"vertical_align": "middle","title_position": "top-left","title_rotation": "left","title_breakpoint": "xl"},"children": [{"name": "","type": "row","props": {"fixed_width": "large","breakpoint": "m","layout": "2-3,"},"children": [{"name": "","type": "column","props": {"image_position": "center-center","widths": ["2-3"]},"children": [{"name": "","type": "quotation","props": {"content": "When they give you the money, that means you've won!","text_align": "","animation": "slide-bottom-small"}},{"name": "Review","type": "text","props": {"column_breakpoint": "m","margin": "default","content": "

When I last reviewed The Verdict — 15 or so years ago upon its DVD release — I gave it two stars, lambasting David Mamet's weak and unconvincing script, and Newman's dull performance. (Click here to see my review from 1989!) I saw it a bit differently this time around.

While the story of The Verdict is certainly somewhat ordinary — a washed up, booze-soaked lawyer takes on a big case hoping for redemption — Mamet's writing is lean and careful, and director Sidney Lumet allows his movie's substantial themes to marinate without pomp in the many dark and quiet corners of the bars, libraries, offices, hospitals and courtrooms in which it is set. the simplicity of the narrative, especially at the end, is not always directly satisfying, but neither does Lumet oversell it, instead leaving a sombre question of discontent stirring within the framework of its formula.

As for Newman, well, he is spectacular at this kind of less-is-more introspection, selling grave and rueful self-loathing with the slightest shifts of face and body, allowing only a sliver of suspicious hope to leak into his gruff-but-somehow-still-boyish voice. Even when sitting perfectly still, consumed by thought and half lost in shadow, he is a magnetic force throughout The Verdict, which is worth seeing for his performance alone. With Jack Warden, James Mason and Milo O'shea giving colorfully minimalist performances in the margins, the only real problem with The Verdict (aside from some terrible music, which seems to be Lumet's albatross) is the poorly written role thanklessly assigned to Charlotte Rampling, who is given nothing to do but stare into space with pointless-if-striking detachment. Both as a character and a device, she feels like an afterthought uselessly shoehorned into a completed script.

MovieLens suggested The Verdict as similar to a movie from my Top 20 movies, The Godfather. In terms of production quality, it is an excellent match. The Verdict shares The Godfather's hushed, deliberate and naturally dark tonality and is full of performances that reveal by attempting to conceal. Aesthetically, The Verdict — through cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak and first-time production designer Edward Pisoni — hits enough of my buttons with dead aim that its craftsmanship more than compensates for its comparative lack of narrative density.

"}},{"name": "Recommend01Title","type": "headline","props": {"title_element": "h3","content": "Suggested as similar to:","title_style": "h3","id": ""}},{"name": "Recommend01Desc","type": "headline","props": {"title_element": "h5","content": "Powered by MovieLens","title_style": "h5","id": ""}},{"name": "Recommend01","type": "html","props": {"content": "
The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather (1972)
Dir: Francis Ford Coppola

The Verdict on my Flickchart: #641 (82%)
The Godfather on my Flickchart: #2 (100%)

TrailerAmazoniTunes
"}},{"name": "Notes On Head","type": "headline","props": {"title_element": "h3","content": "","title_style": "h3","id": ""}}, {"name": "Notes On","type": "html","props": {"content": " "}},{"name": "Trailer Head","type": "headline","props": {"title_element": "h3","content": "Trailer for the Verdict (1982)","title_style": "h3","id": "watchvideo"}},{"name": "","type": "video","props": {"margin": "default","video": "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTMtLakBFQs","video_width": "960","video_height": "540","video_box_shadow": "xlarge","video_box_shadow_bottom": true}},{"name": "Gallery Head","type": "headline","props": {"title_element": "h3","content": "The Verdict (1982) Stills","title_style": "h3","id": "gallery"}},{"name": "Gallery Description","type": "headline","props": {"title_element": "h5","content": "Beware: Galleries may contain spoilers.","title_style": "h5","title_color": "muted","margin": "none"}},{"name": "","type": "html","props": {"content": "
Verdict-1982-00-00-42
Verdict-1982-00-01-23
Verdict-1982-00-02-33
Verdict-1982-00-02-55
Verdict-1982-00-04-38
Verdict-1982-00-05-03
Verdict-1982-00-06-14
Verdict-1982-00-06-38
Verdict-1982-00-08-04
Verdict-1982-00-10-09
Verdict-1982-00-10-24
Verdict-1982-00-12-01
Verdict-1982-00-13-21
Verdict-1982-00-13-44
Verdict-1982-00-13-51
Verdict-1982-00-14-41
Verdict-1982-00-18-37
Verdict-1982-00-19-36
Verdict-1982-00-20-10
Verdict-1982-00-20-28
Verdict-1982-00-22-02
Verdict-1982-00-24-04
Verdict-1982-00-25-33
Verdict-1982-00-26-11
Verdict-1982-00-27-08
Verdict-1982-00-33-25
Verdict-1982-00-34-26
Verdict-1982-00-34-41
Verdict-1982-00-35-12
Verdict-1982-00-35-51
Verdict-1982-00-36-15
Verdict-1982-00-37-54
Verdict-1982-00-38-24
Verdict-1982-00-38-47
Verdict-1982-00-39-15
Verdict-1982-00-39-52
Verdict-1982-00-40-27
Verdict-1982-00-46-04
Verdict-1982-00-50-01
Verdict-1982-00-51-20
Verdict-1982-00-59-24
Verdict-1982-01-01-25
Verdict-1982-01-02-37
Verdict-1982-01-04-42
Verdict-1982-01-07-25
Verdict-1982-01-12-12
Verdict-1982-01-17-31
Verdict-1982-01-23-39
Verdict-1982-01-24-07
Verdict-1982-01-25-28
Verdict-1982-01-28-36
Verdict-1982-01-29-43
Verdict-1982-01-34-50
Verdict-1982-01-43-17
Verdict-1982-01-45-17
Verdict-1982-01-47-31
Verdict-1982-01-49-53
Verdict-1982-01-50-48
Verdict-1982-01-53-20
Verdict-1982-01-59-11
Verdict-1982-02-00-51
Verdict-1982-02-04-28
Verdict-1982-02-05-03
"}}, {"name": "DiscussLBX","type": "button","props": {"gutter": "small","margin": "default"},"children": [{"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "primary","icon_align": "left","content": " Discuss The Verdict @ Letterboxd","link": "https://letterboxd.com/dorrk/film/the-verdict-1982/","link_title": "Comment @ Letterboxd","link_target": "blank","icon": "commenting"}}]},{"name": "","type": "divider","props": {"divider_element": "hr"}}, {"name": "SocialSearch","type": "social","props": {"link_style": "button","gutter": "small","margin": "default","links": ["https:\/\/twitter.com\/hashtag\/TheVerdict?src=hash", "https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/explore\/tags\/TheVerdict\/", "https:\/\/www.facebook.com\/hashtag\/TheVerdict?source=feed_text", "https:\/\/plus.google.com\/u\/0\/s\/TheVerdict"],"link_target": true}}, {"name": "","type": "divider","props": {"divider_element": "hr"}}, {"name": "TheRattlersDen","type": "gallery","props": {"show_title": false,"show_meta": false,"show_content": false,"show_link": true,"show_hover_image": false,"grid_default": "6","grid_medium": "6","overlay_mode": "cover","overlay_hover": true,"overlay_style": "","text_color": "light","overlay_position": "left","overlay_transition": "fade","title_element": "h3","meta_style": "meta","meta_align": "bottom","text_align": "left","margin": "default","grid_xlarge": "6","grid_large": "6","grid_small": "6","gutter": "collapse","image_transition": "scale-up","overlay_padding": "","image_box_shadow": "","divider": false,"id": "RattlersDen","image_width": "33","image_height": "33","overlay_maxwidth": "","maxwidth": "medium","item_animation": "fade"},"children": [{"name": "","type": "gallery_item","props": {"image": "files\/images\/logos\/popgap.jpg","image_alt": "PopGap","title": "PopGap","link": "http:\/\/medialifecrisis.com\/"}}, {"name": "","type": "gallery_item","props": {"image": "files\/images\/logos\/wire.jpg","image_alt": "Wire Creative Web Site Management","title": "Wire Creative Web Site Support","link": "http:\/\/wirecreative.com\/"}}, {"name": "","type": "gallery_item","props": {"image": "files\/images\/logos\/leathergump.jpg","image_alt": "Dorrk","title": "Dorrk","link": "https:\/\/www.google.com\/search?q=dorrk"}}, {"name": "","type": "gallery_item","props": {"image": "files\/images\/logos\/dorrk.jpg","image_alt": "Dorrk Dot com","title": "Dorrk Dot com","link": "http:\/\/dorrk.com\/"}}, {"name": "","type": "gallery_item","props": {"image": "files\/images\/logos\/gimp.jpg","image_alt": "Santa's Li'l Gimp","title": "Santa's Li'l Gimp","link": "http:\/\/santaslilgimp.com\/"}}, {"name": "","type": "gallery_item","props": {"image": "files\/images\/logos\/godfather.jpg","image_alt": "The Godfather","title": "The Godfather","link": "http:\/\/amzn.to\/2vjqL6J"}}]}]}, {"name": "","type": "column","props": {"image_position": "center-center","widths": [""]},"children": [{"name": "Poster","type": "image","props": {"margin": "default","image": "/files/images/articles/201611-Popgap/Verdict-1982.jpg"}},{"name": "Buy Buttons","type": "button","props": {"gutter": "small","margin": "default"},"children": [{"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "primary","icon_align": "left","content": "Buy on Amazon","link": "http://amzn.to/2ec7zyF","link_target": "blank","icon": "cart","link_title": "Buy The Verdict on Amazon"}},{"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "primary","icon_align": "left","content": "Buy on iTunes","link": "https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/movie/the-verdict/id273535851?at=1010l7vW&mt=6","link_target": "blank","icon": "cart","link_title": "Buy The Verdict on iTunes"}},{"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "primary","icon_align": "left","content": "Search Streams","link": "http://gowatchit.com/search?terms=the+Verdict+1982","link_target": "blank","icon": "search","link_title": "Search for streams of The Verdict "}},{"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "primary","icon_align": "left","content": "Search More","link": "https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+Verdict+1982","link_target": "blank","icon": "search","link_title": "Search for The Verdict Merch"}}]}, {"name": "Info Buttons","type": "button","props": {"gutter": "small","margin": "default","button_size": "small","fullwidth": false},"children": [{"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "secondary","icon_align": "left","content": " IMDb","link": "http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084855/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1","link_target": "blank","icon": "info","link_title": "The Verdict on IMDb"}},{"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "secondary","icon_align": "left","content": "Flickchart","link": "http://www.flickchart.com/movie/3AB845433C","link_target": "blank","icon": "list","link_title": "The Verdict on Flickchart"}}, {"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "secondary","icon_align": "left","content": "Letterboxd","link": "https://letterboxd.com/film/the-verdict-1982/","link_target": "blank","icon": "more","link_title": "The Verdict on Letterboxd"}}, {"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "secondary","icon_align": "left","content": "Search Google","link": "https:\/\/www.google.com\/search?q=The Verdict +1982","link_target": "blank","icon": "google","link_title": "Search Google for The Verdict "}}, {"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "secondary","icon_align": "left","content": "Search YouTube","link": "https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/results?search_query=The Verdict +1982","link_target": "blank","icon": "youtube","link_title": "Search YouTube for The Verdict "}}]}, {"name": "Podcast Buttons","type": "button","props": {"gutter": "small","margin": "default","button_size": "small"},"children": [{"name": "","type": "button_item","props": {"button_style": "secondary","icon_align": "left","content": "Search Podcasts","link": "https:\/\/www.google.com\/search?q=podcast+The Verdict +1982","link_title": "Search Podcasts for The Verdict ","link_target": "blank","icon": "search"}}]}, {"name": "More Info Head","type": "headline","props": {"title_element": "h4","content": "More Info:","title_style": "h4"}}, {"name": "More Info","type": "text","props": {"column_breakpoint": "m","margin": "default","content": "

I'll post reviews for all the movies on this blog, and live-tweet most viewings here:
https://twitter.com/popgap

As movies are added to this list, I'll add them to Letterboxd, here:
https://letterboxd.com/dorrk/list/popgap-2016-11-12-my-shadow-top-20

You can keep track of my Flickchart here:
http://www.flickchart.com/Charts.aspx?user=dorrk

","text_style": "default"}},{"name": "Tags Head","type": "headline","props": {"title_element": "h4","content": "Tags","title_style": "h4"}}, {"name": "","type": "html","props": {"content": " PopGap 4-Star Movies Sidney Lumet Paul Newman Charlotte Rampling Shadow Top 20 The Verdict Roxanne Hart Lindsay Crouse James Mason Jack Warden David Mamet "}}, {"name": "Similar Items","type": "joomla_module","props": {"module": "223","type": "mod_tags_similar","margin": "medium","title_style": "h4"}}, {"name": "Project Index","type": "joomla_module","props": {"module": "219","type": "mod_tags_similar","margin": "medium","title_style": "h4"}}, {"name": "Sidebar Ads","type": "joomla_position","props": {"layout": "stack","breakpoint": "m","content": "insert-sidebar-ads","grid_divider": false,"grid_gutter": "medium","margin": "medium"}}]}]}]}]} -->

Tags: PopGap 4-Star Movies Sidney Lumet Paul Newman Charlotte Rampling Shadow Top 20 The Verdict Roxanne Hart Lindsay Crouse James Mason Jack Warden David Mamet

The Top 20 Movies of All-Time

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#2: The Godfather (1972)

#2: The Godfather (1972)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#3: West Side Story (1961)

#3: West Side Story (1961)

Dir: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
#4: Manhattan (1979)

#4: Manhattan (1979)

Dir: Woody Allen
#5: The Graduate (1967)

#5: The Graduate (1967)

Dir: Mike Nichols
#6: Tootsie (1982)

#6: Tootsie (1982)

Dir: Sydney Pollack
#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Dir: Irvin Kershner
#9: Star Wars (1977)

#9: Star Wars (1977)

Dir: George Lucas
#10: The Exorcist (1973)

#10: The Exorcist (1973)

Dir: William Friedkin
#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Dir: Peter Jackson
#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

Dir: Martin Scorsese
#13: Annie Hall (1977)

#13: Annie Hall (1977)

Dir: Woody Allen
#14: Vertigo (1958)

#14: Vertigo (1958)

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Dir: Steven Spielberg
#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson
#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Dir: Tobe Hooper
#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

Dir: Frank Capra
#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Dir: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
#20: Zodiac (2007)

#20: Zodiac (2007)

Dir: David Fincher