Dubby’s Dvdiscussion : Cinematic trials


Both movies are based on fact and in one case the dialogue is taken from court transcripts.

Find Me Guilty is about the most hilarious and longest trial in American criminal history.

Critic Jeff Shannon writes, “Vin Diesel gives his best performance to date in Sidney Lumet’s Find Me Guilty, a courtroom comedy-drama. Diesel plays Giacomo ‘Jackie Dee’ DiNorscio, a loyal member of New Jersey’s notorious Lucchese crime family, who’s already serving a 30-year jail term when he’s offered an opportunity to shorten his sentence if he agrees to testify against his friends. He refuses, choosing instead to defend himself in a 21-month courtroom trial that involves 20 other Mafia members, each with their own defence attorney, all brought to trial on 76 charges. Lumet turns this goombah gab-fest into the kind of edgy New York comedy that only he could direct, drawing heavily on his experience with courtroom classics as The Verdict and 12 Angry Men. He’s filled the screen with a marvellous supporting cast including Alex Rocco, Ron Silver (as the no-nonsense judge) and Annabella Sciorra.”

Writer Mike Szymanski adds, “When Diesel’s character addresses the jury, his sincere charm seems to captivate the jury. Much of the dialogue is taken from actual court transcripts, and most of the film is shot in one room.”

In the tradition of the Nazi Judgment of Nuremberg comes the brilliant but wordy Taking Sides which a critic says is, “About Wilhelm Furtwangler, the celebrated conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, who chose to remain in Germany as the Nazis rose to power. World War II has ended, and now Furtwangler (Stellan Skarsgârd) must endure intense interrogation by Steve Arnold (Harvey Keitel), a pugnacious US Army major assigned to root out Nazi collaborators. While the overzealous Arnold deals in moral absolutes, Furtwangler’s embrace of art for art’s sake opens him up to charges that he supported Hitler, intentionally or not, by naively believing that art and politics could remain separate in the cauldron of the Third Reich. Based on the play by Ronald Harwood (The Pianist), Taking Sides presents a compelling collision of ideologies, probing complex personal and political motivations while presenting an authentic, emotionally charged portrait of German culture immediately following Hitler’s demise. Despite its title, the film itself remains neutral regarding its central argument, leaving the viewer to ponder the weighty issues involved.”

Laine Ewen of Premiere Magazine concludes, “The idea for the film is engaging and interesting... Taking Sides has little action or change of scenery and much focus on the actors.”

Both movies are really good.