Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Find Me Guilty

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong language and some violence.
Profanity:Very strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and situations
Alcohol/Drugs:References to alcohol and drugs and drug dealing
Violence/Scariness:Shooting, references to mob killings
Diversity Issues:Stereotypes of Italians questioned in the movie
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006

Director Sidney Lumet revisits the themes of two of his most memorable films in this movie, but with less success. Like Dog Day Afternoon, it is a true story with colorful characters and both comic and tragic overtones. Like 12 Angry Men it is a story of the way justice is — and is not — served by our judicial system. Like both of those films, Lumet convincingly creates the New York setting. Most of the film is set in the courtroom and the grandeur of its aspirations and the grit of its experiences is evocatively portrayed. But an uncertain point of view leaves the story and characters less clear and the resolution unsatisfying.


It is the story of the longest criminal trial in U.S. history, with charges against 20 alleged members of the Lucchese crime family led by Newark, New Jersey mob boss Anthony Accetturo. It took the government two years to present its endlessly complicated case. In the midst of testimony about a tangled web of alleged criminal actions involving gambling, drugs, theft, and murder, one of the defendants attracted the most attention. He was Giacomo “Fat Jack” DiNorscio (Vin Diesel, unrecognizable but for his gravelly voice under a wig and some extra weight). And while the other defendants each had his own lawyer, DiNorsico represented himself, a source of intense frustration for the prosecutor and the judge but welcome comic relief for the jury. “I’m a gagster, not a gangster,” he told them. And they laughed.


The prosecutor was dumbfounded and furious. He could not understand how a jury could be sympathetic to a group of people who not only stole from just about everyone but now and again, actually killed people who got in their way.


And you know, that’s the problem. He’s right. The trial was a circus. It was a mistake to put all of those defendants, each with is own lawyer, into the same case. In the midst of the numbingly complex details, the jury appears to develop some strange offshoot of the Stockholm Syndrome, identifying not with the prosecutors but with the defendants. For all their alleged crimes, they seemed more authentic and relatable than the prosecuting attorneys.


But we are not the jury, tied up with this crowd of “gagsters” for two years. And DiNorsico is not an endearing shlub like Al Pacino’s Sonny in Dog Day Afternoon, holding up a bank to get a sex change operation for his boyfriend. These are guys who stole much more for reasons that were far less romantic.


Lumet does a much better job evoking the time and place than he does making us sympathetic to DiNorsico. All of the performances are excellent, especially Peter Dinklage, superb as counsel for one of the other defendants, and Annabella Sciorra, blazingly hostile in one brief scene as DiNorsico’s ex-wife. Diesel shows us DiNorsico’s Runyonesque charm and his strong, if oftem misplaced, sense of loyalty, but we never feel the sympathy Lumet clearly thinks he deserves. At the end of the movie, we feel, instead, like the jury, that we have spent too much time and understood too little.

Parents should know that this movie concerns the trial of a group of men charged with serious crimes ranging from drug dealing to gambling and murder. Characters use very strong language and there are references to violence and drug use. A character tries to kill another with a gun, shooting him several times. Characters complain about ethnic stereotypes but it can be argued that the film also perpetuates those stereotypes.


Families who see this movie should talk about why the jury found Jackie appealing — and why director Lumet found his story appealing. How did Lumet make clear his own feelings about Jackie?


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Goodfellas and Lumet’s 12 Angry Men and Dog Day Afternoon. Those who want to learn more about the real case should read The Boys from New Jersey.



Previous Posts

Trailer -- Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Story of Moses with Christian Bale
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/t-8YsulfxVI?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Christian Bale and Sir Ben Kingsley star in "Exodus: Gods and Kings," the story of Moses and the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. It opens this December.

posted 8:00:26pm Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

October 2014: Movies This Month
Happy October! This month is when we start to get the big, award-hopeful fall releases. Some of the highlights of what's ahead this month include: October 3: "Gone Girl," with Ben Affle

posted 3:42:45pm Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

The Inside Story of "The Princess Bride" by Cary Elwes: As You Wish
Fans of The Princess Bride, which means pretty much everyone, will love the new book from Cary Elwes (Wesley), who takes us behind the scenes for the inside story of the making of the film, from his nervous audition (his imitation of Fat Albert saved the day) to the most dedicated fans (one had "As

posted 8:00:44am Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Believe Me
Will Bakke has followed his two thought-provoking documentaries on faith with a remarkably smart, funny, brave, and heartfelt first feature film that explores religion and values without ever falling

posted 11:06:16am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Gone Girl's Rosamund Pike
Rosamund Pike delivers a stunning breakthrough performance in this week's "Gone Girl." She's been a favorite of mine for a long time, for her elegant voice and precise acting choices. It's a good

posted 8:00:23am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.